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Britain slams 'barbaric' death sentence given to pregnant woman in Sudan

The Christian woman was sentenced to death for apostasy, for her religious choice, last month and gave birth in prison earlier this week.

Image: woman image via Shutterstock

BRITISH PRIME MINISTER David Cameron said today he was “appalled” by the “barbaric” death sentence given to a Sudanese Christian woman for refusing to recant her religion.

Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag, 27, was condemned on May 15 under Islamic sharia law, which outlaws conversions on pain of death. She was pregnant at the time but gave birth this week in prison.

“I am absolutely appalled by the decision to sentence Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag to death,” Cameron said in a statement today.

“The way she is being treated is barbaric and has no place in today’s world. Religious freedom is an absolute, fundamental human right,” the Conservative leader said.

“I urge the government of Sudan to overturn the sentence and immediately provide appropriate support and medical care for her and her children.

The UK will continue to press the government of Sudan to act.”

The Christian Sudanese woman, who was sentenced to hang, was incarcerated with her 20-month-old toddler according to rights activists, and gave birth this week to another baby in jail.

She should be allowed to nurse her baby for two years before any death sentence is carried out, legal experts have said.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, and Labour opposition leader Ed Miliband have also condemned the case as “abhorrent”.

Former British prime minister Tony Blair, who heads a faith foundation, said justifying Ishag’s treatment in the name of religion was “a brutal and sickening distortion of faith and we must unite in calling for her release.

“We must fight to protect freedom of belief, strive to allow people to worship the god they want or to worship none,” he said, according to The Times newspaper.

Meanwhile former defence secretary Liam Fox said Britain should reconsider whether it was acceptable to give aid money to countries which allow such treatment.

- © AFP 2014.

Related: ‘Appalling and abhorrent’: Pregnant woman sentenced to flogging and hanging in Sudan>

Read: Pregnant teenager receives jail term after being gang-raped>

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