Meriam Yehya Ibrahim apostasy sharia law Sudan
Daniel Wani with his wife Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, sentenced to death for refusing to renounce her Christian faith.Gabriel Wani/Facebook

David Cameron and other leading personalities have joined the battle for the release of a Christian woman sentenced to death for not accepting Islam in Sudan.

The prime minister called on the Sudanese government to review the "barbaric" death penalty awarded to Meriam Ibrahim for keeping her faith.

"The way she is being treated is barbaric and has no place in today's world," he told The Times.

"Religious freedom is an absolute, fundamental human right. The UK will continue to press the government of Sudan to act."

Nick Clegg said that the conviction was a "flagrant breach of international human rights".

"This case is a grave violation of the basic right and freedom to practise one's religion," the deputy prime minister added.

Expressing his concern, Labour leader Ed Miliband said: "I cannot imagine the suffering - both physical and emotional - that Meriam, her husband and their two young children must be going through."

Meriam's past

Ibrahim, 27, born to a Christian mother and a Muslim father who remained absent during her childhood, was raised as an orthodox Christian by her mother.

Now married to a Christian, Daniel Wani, Ibrahim was convicted of apostasy when she was pregnant, and given four days to change to Islam. According to Islamic law, children inherit the father's religion while the mother's line is considered irrelevant.

At the end of four days, Ibrahim said at the court: "I am a Christian and I never committed apostasy."

She was not only sentenced to death for refusing to accept Islam but will also receive 100 lashes for committing "adultery", as the Sudanese court does not consider Wani her "lawful" husband as he is a Christian.

Shackled to the floor, Ibrahim gave birth to a daughter in prison, and has a 20-month-old son with Wani, who also lives in prison with her mother. Wani is not allowed to take custody of their son who the authorities consider a Muslim.

Referring to the plight of Ibrahim, who contracted various illnesses because of poor sanitation in the jail, Cameron said he was "appalled" at her condition.

Struggle to Release Ibrahim

In an interview with MailOnline, Wani said that Meriam had told him: "I refuse to change. I am not giving up Christianity just so that I can live.

"I know I could stay alive by becoming a Muslim and I would be able to look after our family, but I need to be true to myself."

Ibrahim will be allowed to nurse her daughter for two years before being hanged as per the Islamic law.

Wani, who is a naturalised US citizen since 2005, has appealed for global support to help release his wife from death penalty.

He expressed his gratitude to the people who "came together around the world" to protest against his wife's sentence, and hopes that the appeal will be successful.

Amnesty International has also launched a petition seeking her release, while over 600,000 have signed a separate petition on

The UN, Canada and the Netherlands have also formally asked Sudan to release Ibrahim.