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Daniel & Meriam on their wedding day.
Photo: Gabriel Wani / Facebook

A 27-year-old pregnant woman has been charged with apostasy, a crime punishable by hanging, after refusing to recant her Christian faith. Meriam Yahia Ibrahim, a doctor, was also sentenced to 100 lashes for adultery, as her marriage to a Christian man is not considered valid. Under Sudanese law, Muslim women may only marry Muslim men.

Since Meriam's father was a Muslim, the authorities regard Meriam a Muslim as well and, therefore, do not recognize her marriage to a Christian. Meriam's father has been absent from her life since she was six, and her Ethiopian Orthodox mother raised her as a Christian.

Meriam and her husband, Daniel Wani, have a 20-month-old son, Martin, who is currently in her care at the prison. (The couple is expecting their second child next month.) Although sentenced with crimes of apostasy and adultery on May 11th, and given three days to recant her faith, the young expectant mother calmly told the judge at a hearing days later that she remains a Christian. Her death sentence is reportedly to be carried out two years after giving birth to her baby. Martin's custody would then be granted to the government. The lawyer acting for Meriam is preparing an appeal which must be submitted within 15 days.

Prison guards and other prisoners have reportedly abused Meriam while she is in prison. She is also being denied medical treatment, including prenatal care for her unborn child. Furthermore, Muslim scholars are visiting the prison with the intent of pressuring Meriam to return to the religion of her father.

Please bring this shocking and heartbreaking case to our Lord in prayer, asking Him to powerfully intervene. May the charges against Meriam be dropped so that she may return home with her husband and child. In the meanwhile, ask God to be especially near to Meriam and little Martin during their time in prison. Pray that the prison guards and authorities will extend compassion and kindness to this mother and her young child, while also providing needed medical care for Meriam's unborn baby. Ask, too, that the Lord will grant peace to Daniel and other concerned family members so they may rest in the knowledge that He is very mindful of their plight and promises to lovingly hold Meriam and Martin in the palms of His hands (Isaiah 49:15-16). Finally, please intercede on behalf of the authorities involved in this case, praying that God will open their eyes to the truth of His Word.

To learn more about Sudan's persecuted church, please visit the Sudan Country Report.