Meriam Yehya Ibrahim faces a death sentence in Sudan for apostasy after a court ruled she converted from Islam.
Now the 27-year-old Christian woman, a wife and mother expecting another child, embarks on a long and unpredictable legal journey.
A variety of factors — Sudan’s legal system, differences between its constitution and Sharia law imposed by the sentencing judge, her pregnancy — ensure there will no execution any time soon.
Ibrahim’s lawyer argues the sentence should not stand, and an international outcry could pressure Sudan’s government to intervene.
Even if the sentence stands, Sharia law as practiced in Sudan prohibits carrying out the death sentence on an expectant woman until two years after she gives birth.
Here are some questions and answers on what happens now:
What is this all about?
On Thursday, a Khartoum court convicted Ibrahim of apostasy, or the renunciation of faith, and sentenced her to death.
Ibrahim was born to a Sudanese Muslim father and an Ethiopian Orthodox mother. Her father left when she was 6, and she was raised by her mother as a Christian.
Her lawyer, Mohamed Jar Elnabi, said the case started after Ibrahim’s brother filed a complaint against her.
The brother alleged Ibrahim had gone missing for several years and that her family was shocked to find she had married a Christian man.
Because her father was Muslim, the Sharia law court considered her to be the same. It refused to recognize her marriage to a Christian and also convicted her of adultery, with an additional sentence of 100 lashes.
Before imposing the sentence, the court gave her an opportunity to recant her Christian faith, but Elnabi said Ibrahim refused to do so, declaring: “I am a Christian, and I will remain a Christian.”
Attempts by CNN to contact Sudan’s justice minister and foreign affairs minister about the case were unsuccessful.
SOURCE: Tom Cohen and Mohammed Tawfeeq