UK political leaders have spoken out against the death sentence given to a Christian woman in Sudan, as confusion surrounds her possible release.
Meriam Ibrahim, 27, was sentenced to death by hanging and 100 lashes after a court ruled she had left Islam and committed adultery by marrying a Christian.
David Cameron said he was “absolutely appalled” by the case, while Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg both described the situation as “abhorrent”.
Over the weekend media reports indicated Ibrahim would be released within days, but her lawyer and husband say they have heard nothing.
Ibrahim gave birth to her second child, Maya, last week, and was already caring for her son, Martin, while in prison.
She has refused pressure to renounce her faith, declaring in a caged court dock last month: “I am a Christian and I never committed apostasy”.
Ibrahim was raised in her mother’s Orthodox Christian faith – her Muslim father was not present during her upbringing.
David Cameron commented: “I urge the government of Sudan to overturn the sentence and immediately provide appropriate support and medical care for her and her children. The UK will continue to press the government of Sudan to act.”
Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, also expressed outrage, saying Ibrahim’s imprisonment was “utterly appalling”.
Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg described the sentence as “a flagrant breach of international human rights”.
An online petition calling for the execution to be stopped has gathered more than 745,000 signatures, while Twitter users are posting messages of support under the banner #SaveMeriam.
Speaking following the reports that she was to be released swiftly, one of her lawyers, El Shareef Ali Mohammed, said he was sceptical.
Ibrahim’s husband said he was unaware of any plan to release her, commenting: “No Sudanese or foreign mediator contacted me. Maybe there are contacts between the Sudanese government and foreign sides that I’m not aware of”.
“As far as I’m concerned I will wait for the appeal which my lawyer submitted and I hope that my wife will be released”, he told the BBC.