Meriam Ibrahim should hang, says her brother

Meriam Ibrahim breastfeeds her newborn baby girl. Image / Al Fajer/AP
Meriam Ibrahim breastfeeds her newborn baby girl. Image / Al Fajer/AP

The brother of Meriam Ibrahim, the woman sentenced to death in Sudan for her Christian beliefs, has said that she "should be executed" if she does not recant.

In his first interview since the international outcry over a court's ruling that his sister should be hanged, Al Samani al Hadi Mohamed Abdullah said she had been "given a magic potion" to bewitch her into leaving Islam.

He said he had denounced Ms Ibrahim, 27, to the authorities for abandoning her faith because his family "are Muslim people".

"If she repents and returns to our Islamic faith and to the embrace of our family, then we are her family and she is ours," he said. "But if she refuses she should be executed."

Ms Ibrahim, a mother who gave birth to her second child in shackles 10 days ago, has been in prison in Khartoum since January on charges of apostasy. During her trial earlier this month she told the court that she was never a Muslim, as her Muslim father left the family when she was six - and she was subsequently raised as a Christian.

But the court ruled against her and on May 15 she was sentenced. The court allowed a two-year stay of execution after she delivered her baby, Maya.

Ms Ibrahim has sworn that she will not renounce her Christian beliefs, her husband, Daniel Wani, told The Daily Telegraph. "She is doing OK," he said.

But Mr Al Hadi accuses Mr Wani of forcing her conversion. "Her now-husband Daniel - this 'priest' - he gave her a magic potions drink," he told CNN television. "Or something that allowed him to convert her."

He claimed that Ms Ibrahim was originally given the Islamic name Abrar al Hadi and her family was "shocked" when she told the court that her name was now Meriam Yahya Ibrahim.

His sister had cut off all ties with the family and disappeared, he said, until he discovered that her husband's family "were hiding her in their house". He added: "When she was caught, our sister's face was different, the way she looked at us was different. She was bewitched, like an unconscious person. She didn't know any of us."

He said that the family would "not deny Islamic law" - even if that meant the execution of his sister.

"If she dies we will have enforced God's word. The solution is that she is executed. As we have been ordered by our Prophet, peace be upon him, 'He who barters his religion you must kill.'

"The world should not involve itself in our family affairs. This is a family and these are our private affairs. We don't want outside involvement."

His comments will fuel speculation that Ms Ibrahim is the victim of a family feud. An American charity which is paying her legal costs has claimed that she was targeted by jealous relations who wanted to gain control of her successful small businesses - a supermarket, a farm and a beauty salon.

Ms Ibrahim's sentence, including 100 lashes to be administered before she is hanged, has provoked outrage around the world. Her lawyers have appealed against it and are currently awaiting a decision.

Reports last weekend that her release was imminent were dismissed by the government in Sudan. But President Omar al-Bashir was said to be considering issuing a presidential pardon.

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- Daily Telegraph UK

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