UK concern at Sudan death sentence


(The Telegraph) Sudanese diplomat Bukhari Afandi was called in for a meeting with a senior Foreign Office official over the case at the request of Foreign Secretary William Hague. Meriam Ibrahim, whose father was Muslim but mother was an Orthodox Christian from Ethiopia, was convicted of apostasy and sentenced to death earlier this month. A Foreign Office spokesman said: “At the request of the Foreign Secretary, the charge d’affaires at the Sudanese Embassy in the UK, Bukhari Afandi, was summoned to the Foreign Office today to meet political director Simon Gass. “The political director expressed deep concern at the recent decision to sentence Meriam to death for apostasy and asked the Charge to urge his government to uphold its international obligations on freedom of religion or belief, and to do all it can to get this decision overturned.” After the sentence was passed last week, Africa minister Mark Simmonds said he was “appalled” at the “barbaric” punishment.

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Interior Ministry Denies Coup Attempt

(Sudan Vision) Ministry of Interior denied yesterday the existence of any coup attempt in Khartoum in the recent days. Police Forces Spokesperson, Maj. Gen. Al-Sir Ahmed Omer affirmed that there is no information about this issue subjecting the rumours to the extensive existence of police forces which is routine precautionary measures and preparations for police forces to confront any developments in the domestic security arena to prevent any breakdowns.

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Mbeki’s expected visit to Two Areas cancelled

(Radio Tamazuj) Thabo Mbeki, the former president of South Africa and chief mediator of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) for Sudan, has cancelled plans to visit the conflict-riddled Sudanese states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan. Mbeki was supposed to visit Blue Nile state last Wednesday and then South Kordofan, but the plan has reportedly been scrapped for unclear reasons. Speaking to Radio Tamazuj on Sunday, the SPLM-N member at the peace talks in Addis Ababa Dr. Farah Agar confirmed that the visit has already been cancelled.

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Sudan Turabi Decries Apostasy Penalty

(Onislam) The leading Sudanese opposition Popular Congress Party (PCP) has condemned the death penalty issued against a Christian woman for apostasy as a violation of Islamic principles, seeing it as “a scandal, extremism, and intellectual backwardness”. “It is a violation of the basic principles of Islam,” said Kamal Omar, lawyer and PCP’s Political Secretary, Radio Dabanga reported on Sunday, May 18. The opinion of El Turbai party was shared by experts in Islamic law who have widely condemned the Sudanese court death sentence.

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Sudan Says Death Sentence for Pregnant Woman Not Final

(Israel National News) As outrage grows over a Sudanese woman who was sentenced to death for refusing to renounce her Christianity, the government defended the verdict, but said it’s only preliminary, CNN reported on Sunday. A Khartoum court last week convicted Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, 27, of apostasy. Ibrahim, who is eight months pregnant, converted to Christianity and married a Christian man. Sudanese parliament speaker Fatih Izz Al-Deen said, however, that the verdict is not final and is in the hands of the judiciary. The verdict will go through all the judicial stages to reach the constitutional court, the speaker told Um Derman radio station. The parliament speaker, however, said that claims she was raised as non-Muslim are untrue. She is a Muslim raised in an Islamic environment and her brother, a Muslim, filed the complaint against her, according to Izz Al-Deen. Meanwhile, rights groups and foreign embassies worldwide continue to condemn the verdict, according to CNN.

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ICRC downsizes mission in Sudan following suspension

(Sudan Tribune) The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has expressed regret for Sudan’s suspension of its activities, saying it has led to negative humanitarian implications. ICRC also announced it is laying off 195 employees of its local staff while imploring on Khartoum to reverse its decision and allow it resumes its work to help the affected population. Last February, the Sudanese government ordered the ICRC to halt its activities in the country saying that the aid organisation needs to comply with the humanitarian work guidelines and the voluntary work law in order to continue operating in the country. The following month, a high level delegation from the ICRC arrived in Khartoum and discussed the issue with officials in the foreign ministry, humanitarian aid commission (HAC), and other government bodies but failed to resolve this situation.

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Sudan: Continued suspension of ICRC activities has severe humanitarian impact

The International Committee of the Red Cross issued a press statement regretting that it has not been allowed to resume its work in Sudan. The suspension of its activities for more than three months is having severe consequences for the Sudanese population in areas affected by the armed conflict, which has intensified over the past months and caused massive displacement in Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan. Last year, some 1.5 million people in the country received ICRC aid. “We are increasingly concerned about the humanitarian situation in some parts of the country and are calling on the Sudanese authorities to lift the suspension – be it on a temporary basis while discussions take place – in order that the humanitarian needs of people benefiting from ICRC programmes can be addressed,” said Eric Marclay, the ICRC’s head of operations for East Africa, at the organization’s Geneva headquarters.

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