UPDATE 6/24/14: Just one day after Meriam Ibrahim's release from Sudanese prison, she, her husband Daniel and their children were re-arrested today while trying to flee the country. They were detained at an airport in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum by the notorious NISS (National Intelligence and Security Services) — also known as 'Agents of Fear' by Amnesty — known for torturing prisoners in secret 'ghost houses'. "This is very concerning. It's bad news," Daniel's brother Gabriel said of the tragic news.
UPDATE 6/23/14: Meriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese woman sentenced to death for converting to Christianity, has been freed following international outcry from the U.S., EU and Britain. Her husband, Daniel Wani, is an American Christian. Even though she officially joined the church after her wedding in December 2011, according to Father Mussa Timothy Kacho of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Khartoum, Meriam was raised by her mother, an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian and "has never been a Muslim in her life." Her husband is working to get her to America as soon as possible because her safety is still threatened in Sudan. Her lawyer Mohaned Mostafa said she has been sent "to an unknown house to stay at for her protection and security. Her family had been threatened before and we are worried that someone might try to harm her." We hope Meriam and her husband and children stay safe!
This past Thursday in India, four men, including two law officers, were arrested in the kidnapping, gang rape, and murder of two sisters, ages 14 and 15 years old, after their bodies were discovered hanging from a mango tree. The people of their village of Katra refused to move from beside the tree or let anyone remove the disturbing sight of the hanging bodies until the culprits were taken into custody.
The scariest part of this story is that it's unclear exactly what is going to be done about horrific situations such as these in India. In April, the leader of the state's governing group, the Samajwadi party, spoke out against their new law that allows gang rapists to be punished by the death penalty, blaming the murderous instances on boys "being boys."
Also this week, a Pakistani woman named Farzana Parveen was stoned to death by her own father, brothers, and various other friends and family members of whom you would otherwise think a pregnant woman could rely.
Allegedly due to her unapproved marriage to Muhammad Iqbal, Farzana Parveen was ambushed and brutally murdered by her own "loved ones" outside of a courthouse that they lured her to on Tuesday, under the duress of the false accusation by her father that Iqbal had kidnapped her. She was reluctantly coming to the courts to fight the ridiculous claim.
The late Parveen's father had ironically approved of the marriage in its early stages, but then tried to milk Iqbal of an extra $1,000 for the cost of the marriage, which he did not have. This lead to the downward spiral which culminated in Parveen's death.
Her father recently confessed to the murder, and police are searching for the rest of the culprits. This, however, does not ease the terror of the situation, or the immense heartbreak that Iqbal must have felt as he buried her body in their home village.
Meanwhile, in Sudan, Meriam Ibrahim is facing the death penalty for marrying the man she loves and staying true to her beliefs.
Ibrahim was arrested in September for being a Christian and not adhering to the national faith of Islam. Three weeks after conceiving her second child, Maya (to whom she gave birth in jail, while in shackles), she was taken away from her husband and put in jail.
She now faces not only the death penalty, but also 100 lashes for her Christianity and marrying a US Christian. Sudanese authorities are also refusing to recognize her husband, Daniel Wani, not only also a Christian, but also an American citizen, as the biological father of their two children, who Ibrahim has with her in prison. Wani turned to help from the American embassy, which granted him citizenship, but did not provide any assistance because although Wani is a recognized citizen, Ibrahim is not.
Wani broke down into tears as he heard of his wife's sentence, as she remained stone-faced. "My wife is very, very strong. She is stronger than me," he said.
Ibrahim's case is being taken to the Appeal Court, where if it doesn't succeed, it will be taken to Sudan's Supreme Court.
Their young family is hoping for a miracle in this oppressive and unforgiving situation.
These are just three of the outrages that occur against women daily around the world. These acts makes us grateful for the people in our lives who treat us right, who would never dream of hurting us in the way these women have been. Remember these people, cherish them, and love them every day.