Sudanese Woman Imprisoned for Apostasy Gives Birth - What Does That Mean for Her Future?

May 27, 2014 03:13 PM EDT

Update: Sudanese Christian Woman Sentenced to Death for Apostasy Gives Birth in Chains, Husband Reports 

A Sudanese woman imprisoned and sentenced to death for refusing to renounce her Christian faith has given birth to a girl in prison.

Lawyers reveal that Meriam Yehya Ibrahim delivered her baby earlier this week at a women's prison in Khartoum. One of her attorneys, Mohamed Abdelnabi, revealed that the baby is healthy and will be named Maya.

"She's fine, and Meriam as well," Abdelnabi told Fox News.

Ibrahim was convicted of apostasy, or the renunciation of faith, about two weeks ago while she was eight months pregnant. She, along with her 20 month old son, was confined in a Sudanese woman's prison. In addition to the death sentence, the court convicted Ibrahim of adultery and sentenced her to 100 lashes.

Ibrahim's husband, Daniel Wani, was not allowed to be present at the birth. He is wheelchair bound and relies on his wife for his everyday needs. Wani has expressed deep concern for his wife and young children, saying he "is just praying" for their release.

In past cases involving pregnant or nursing women, the Sudanese government waited until the mother weaned her child before executing any sentence, said Christian Solidarity Worldwide spokeswoman Kiri Kankhwende.

Now that Ibrahim has given birth, many fear the Sudanese court follow through with their decision.

However, the Parliament speaker has said the verdict is not final and will go through all the judicial stages to reach the constitutional court. The appeals court in Khartoum will issue a ruling on the case in the next week, but it will first ask the lower court to submit the documents it used to make the ruling, according to her lawyer.

Once that's done, it will issue a case number, he said.

"We will continue checking with the appeals court, but Inshallah (Allah willing) ... the appeals court will reverse the sentence and set her free," he said.

The international community has expressed horror at Sudan's disregard for human rights laws.

"The fact that a woman could be sentenced to death for her religious choice, and to flogging for being married to a man of an allegedly different religion, is abhorrent and should never be even considered," said Manar Idriss, Amnesty International's Sudan researcher.

Katherine Perks with the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies said the verdict goes against Sudan's "own constitution and commitments made under regional and international law."

Foreign embassies in Khartoum, including those of the United States, United Kingdom and Canada, urged the government to reverse the decision.