A distraught and desperate husband who traveled from New Hampshire to Sudan has been allowed to visit his pregnant wife on death row, only to find her shackled in chains.
Meriam Ibrahim, 26, was sentenced to death last week by a Sudanese court in Khartoum after being convicted of apostasy. The Christian woman, who is eight months pregnant, had refused to denounce her religion.
Her husband, Daniel Wani, arrived in Sudan Monday after leaving New England.
“Her feet are shackled. Her legs are swollen,” Tina Ramirez, executive director of Hardwired, a U.S.-based advocacy group against religious persecution, told the Daily News. “It’s just outrageous. She’s eight and a-half months pregnant.”
Wani is appealing his wife’s execution, which officials said won’t be held until Ibrahim gives birth and nurses her infant.
The couple’s 18-month-old son, Martin, is with her in prison. The husband and wife, who are both Christian, have several businesses, including a farm in Khartoum.
Several government oppostion groups have said they will protest on Ibrahim’s behalf, Ramirez said Tuesday. The UN has also offered to help.
She was arrested last year after her father’s family claimed she was born a Muslim, but married a Christian. She had been released, pending her trial, but was imprisoned in February on an added charge of apostasy, after saying in court that she has been a Christian all her life.
She was reared by her mother.
“I was never a Muslim,” she told the Sudanese high court. “I was raised a Christian from the start.”
Ramirez told The News Wani had been trying to get a U.S. visa for his wife, but has been unsuccessful.
Wani is a U.S. citizen who fled Sudan’s civil war and moved to New Hampshire.
He met Meriam Ibrahim, who is wealthy and owns a shopping mall, during frequent visits to Sudan.
Sudanese officials will not allow him take custody of his toddler son because, by law, a Christian man cannot raise a Muslim child.
Under Sudan’s criminal code, Muslim women are allowed to marry only Muslim men. Converting to another faith is punishable by death.