A Christian woman who is 8 months pregnant has been sentenced by a Sudanese court to death by hanging for apostasy because of her refusal to convert to Islam. Despite pleas by Western embassies for respect for religious freedom and for compassion, she remains convicted under the Islamic Sharia Law. This law has been in effect in the country since 1983 prohibiting conversion with the penalty of death in the case of noncompliance. After refusing to renounce her Christian faith, her husband has been left feeling helpless, not knowing what to do but pray.

Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag, 27, was born to a Muslim father, making the courts consider her to be Muslim as well. Her mother, on the other hand, was an Ethiopian Orthodox. She raised her daughter as a Christian after her father left when she was only 6 years old. Aside from her conviction for apostasy, the court has also convicted Ibrahim of adultery and sentenced her to a hundred lashes. Under Sharia law, her marriage to a Christian man is void, making their relationship adulterous.

According to her lawyer, Ibrahim refused to recant her Christian faith after she was given until Thursday to do so by the court. The legal team is planning to appeal the verdict, which has drawn condemnation from human rights groups and organizations across the globe. According to international religious freedom monitors, Sudan is one of the countries where practicing Christianity is most difficult. Sharia law is imposed on both Muslims and non-Muslims alike with punishments of flogging and amputation.

This was not the first time the Sudanese government has convicted Christians for exercising their faith, as they have confiscated properties and destroyed Christian churches before. Ibrahim's legal team and other groups continue to support her cause; however, attempts to contact the foreign affairs minister and the justice minister of Sudan regarding the case have proven to be unsuccessful.