Christoph Strässer, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid and Member of the German Bundestag, issued the following statement today (27 May 2014) on the sentencing to death of the Sudanese woman Meriam Yehya Ibrahim:
I am very concerned about the death sentence imposed on Meriam Yehya Ibrahim and am personally committed to working to save Ms Ibrahim’s life. The Federal Republic of Germany has already appealed to the Sudanese Government in Khartoum together with the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States and has urged it to strictly observe the Sudan’s international commitments to comply with human rights, particularly the right to freedom of religion or belief and the right to life. The Federal Foreign Office in Berlin has also urgently appealed to the Sudanese Embassy for the Sudan to observe human rights in the case of Ms Ibrahim.
The Federal Government condemns all forms of torture and inhuman treatment. The Sudan is obliged under international law to defend and promote religious freedom. The Sudanese Government has now acknowledged that the sentence may be flawed. The case has already been referred to a higher court, and I sincerely hope that a new verdict will be passed which complies with rule‑of‑law principles and reverses the death sentence. I call upon the Sudan to refrain from either imposing the death penalty or carrying it out.
In mid‑May 2014 a Sudanese court of first instance in Khartoum condemned Meriam Yehya Ibrahim Ishag to death for abandoning her Muslim faith. The proceedings are still ongoing. Under Sudanese law all death sentences must be confirmed by the Supreme Court. In the Sudan, Islam is the state religion, but the Sudanese constitution also provides for the observance of various other religions and the free practice of faith.