There is a smidgen of clemency in Islamic law. Meriam has a 2-year-old son, Martin, and is pregnant with another child, so the Sudanese criminal justice system permits her to have her son with her in prison, although the prison’s conditions are bad for the son’s health and she herself was denied health care for a difficult pregnancy. Further, Islamic law gives Meriam two years after the birth of her second child to nurse it before any execution would be carried out. Then, presumably, the Sudanese criminal justice system would execute Meriam after first applying 100 lashes.
Meriam gave birth to a daughter on Tuesday.
As for the children, some observers believe they would no doubt be given to Muslim relatives to be raised Muslim, even if their father is Christian. It was a Muslim brother of Meriam, in fact, who reported his sister to the authorities when he found out about her case. She was said to have been missing for a time earlier.
Sudan is 97 percent Muslim, which is one of the reasons why South Sudan, with its higher percentage of Christians, seceded in 2011. Sudan’s president Al-Bashir is an Islamist, and under his administration his country has instituted shari’a. It has led to harassment of non-Muslim minorities, which has only increased since the 2011 secession of the South.
A spokesperson for the African Center for Justice and Peace Studies says the verdict on Meriam Ibrahim goes against Sudan’s “own constitution and commitment made under regional and international law.” Sudan’s judiciary faces pressures from hard-liners within the country as the case is winding its way through Sudan’s courts. The United States, the United Kingdom and Canada have expressed concerns to the Sudanese government over this case, whose eventual outcome at present is not certain.