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Sudan FM says judiciary capable of addressing apostasy case

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June 4, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Sudanese foreign minister Ali Karti asserted that the judiciary in his country is able to address the issue of a woman convicted of apostasy and sentenced to death last month, in a case which has sparked widespread international condemnation.

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German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (R) and his counterpart from Sudan Ali Ahmed Karti brief the media after a bilateral meeting at the foreign ministry in Berlin on 4 June 2014 (Photo: AP/Markus Schreiber)

On 15 May, a Khartoum court sentenced 27-year-old Meriam Yehya Ibrahim to death by hanging for apostasy after she refused to recant her faith and revert to Islam.

The court convicted Ibrahim, who is in custody with her 20-month-old son and her newborn baby girl, of the charges on May 11th and gave her three days to return to Islam.

Western officials, including UK prime minister David Cameron, condemned the verdict, calling it "barbaric".

The Italian President Giorgio Napolitano on Thursday voiced the hope the Ibrahim would get a retrial adding that he was following the case "with keen participation".

Karti said at a joint press conference with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Bonn yesterday that handling the case is governed by legal appeal process to achieve justice to the satisfaction of all parties, stressing that the government does not interfere in judicial decisions.

The Sudanese minister emphasized the integrity and independence of the Sudanese judiciary, and praised the spirit of understanding that prevailed in his talks with his German counterpart.

In response to the conflicting statements made last weekend by the Undersecretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Alazrag announcing the imminent release of the woman, Karti said that Alazrag’s remarks were taken out of context.

The German top diplomat on his end said that his government "is looking forward to seeing this inhumane judgment lifted".

Steinmeier also praised the national dialogue process called for by president Omer Hassan al-Bashir this year stressing that it is the only to resolve crises in Sudan.

He also noted Khartoum’s efforts to stabilize the situation in South Sudan, and pointed to the role played by Sudan as a "constructive partner" in the region.

Steinmeier urged Sudan to play a role in support of the neighboring countries in the region which are currently experiencing crises, such as Libya and Central Africa.

(ST)

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