Sudan: Is Meriam’s case all about freedom of religion?
In part. But, as Jackie Hansen from AI Canada makes clear in her article, Meriam’s case is really about being a woman. It is fair to say that Meriam was likely arrested and convicted because she is a woman. Both women and men can be charged with apostasy--the failure to denounce one's faith. But in reality it is overwhelmingly women who are charged with apostasy. There are no known cases of people being executed for apostasy in Sudan since the 1991 Criminal Code was enacted. But people have been charged with apostasy and had their charges dropped or their convictions overturned after recanting their faith. The unequal application of the apostasy law (which, by the way, is illegal under international law), is representative of the unequal power balance between women and men in Sudan. It is a tool used by men to control women who step outside of the patterns of behaviour deemed acceptable for a woman. Meriam has taken a stand. By refusing to recant her faith she has publicly taken a stand about who she loves and what she believes. And for this she has been sentenced to death; she is a 'threat' to the Sudanese state. What is happening to Meriam is consistent with a broad pattern of women's human rights abuses in Sudan. Abuses committed to deter women from taking a stand in the public sphere, and for punishing those who do. In Sudan, a woman can be stopped by police, sent before a judge, and sentenced to a public flogging for wearing pants or leaving hair uncovered. Amnesty International has documented cases in Sudan where where women who speak out and protest have been subjected to "forced virginity tests." By signing the petition, you can help force the Sudanese government to drop the charges and free Meriam. You can read the original aricle at: www.amnesty.ca/blog/who-is-meriam-yehya-ibrahim