Mariam, a devout Christian, was sentenced to death for apostasy and corporal punishment of 100 lashes for adultery in 2014 in Sudan because, as a Christian woman and the daughter of a Muslim man, she married a Christian man.
Mariam was born to a Sudanese Muslim father and an Ethiopian Christian mother, but her mother raised her as a Christian without her father being present in their lives. The Sudanese judiciary decided that she was a Muslim, on the basis of her father, even though she had practiced Christianity her whole life. Authorities declared that her marriage to a Christian man was void, and she had committed adultery.
Mariam was arrested with her Sudanese American husband in Khartoum in 2013, following a complaint submitted by a man who alleged to be her brother. In February 2014, the Court added the additional charge of apostasy, which in Sudan carries the death penalty. The court convicted Mariam of adultery and apostasy. Her husband was acquitted of his sole charge of adultery. The judge ordered Mariam to recant her Christian faith within the next three days, on pain of executing the sentence, but she refused and appealed her conviction.
Mariam was detained while being pregnant, together with her infant son, and following her birth, with her new-born daughter, in inhuman conditions in Omdurman’s Woman Prison for over four months. She was forced to give birth in prison while in shackles, without basic medical care, causing her long-lasting health problems. Prison guards routinely beat her with sticks, kicked her, spat on her face, and insulted her. She was also abused by fellow inmates and imams whom she was forced to meet with.
The court revoked her conviction in 2014, when she was released along with her children. Due to ongoing threats, Mariam was forced to flee to the United States. She has been a passionate religious freedom activist and spokesperson since.
Her testimony empowers Christians all around the world with hope and strength.