A 27-year-old woman who was sentenced to death in Sudan last
month for converting to Christianity from Islam has been
freed after what the government described as
"unprecedented" international pressure.
Mariam Yahya Ibrahim, who is married to a Christian American,
was ordered by a Sudanese court last month to return to Islam
and was sentenced to 100 lashes and to death.
Her release is likely to be welcomed by human rights groups
and Western governments who voiced outrage at the ruling.
Britain had last month summoned the Sudanese charge
d'affaires in protest at the sentencing.
"The appeal court ordered the release of Mariam Yahya and the
cancellation of the (previous) court ruling," Sudan's SUNA
news agency said.
A government official had told Reuters on May 31 that
Sudanese officials were working to release Ibrahim.
Ibrahim was sent to a secret location for her protection, her
"Her family had been threatened before and we are worried
that someone might try to harm her," the lawyer, Mohaned
Mostafa, told Reuters.
Ibrahim gave birth in prison to a daughter, her second child
by her husband Daniel Wani, whom she married in 2011.
Sudan's Foreign Ministry said it had come under
"unprecedented" international pressure to free Ibrahim.
"Now that the independent Sudanese judiciary has said its
word in the case of a single national, the Foreign Ministry
would like to remind the international community about the
continued suffering of 35 million nationals as a result of
sanctions," its statement said.
The United States imposed sanctions on Sudan in 1997 over
alleged human rights violations and support for what it
called "international terrorism", then strengthened the
penalties in 2006 over Khartoum's festering conflict with
rebels in Darfur.