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Mon, 19 May 2014 17:38:44 +0000
(NEW YORK) -- A Sudanese immigrant living in New Hampshire has returned to Sudan to try to save his wife, who is eight months pregnant and facing the death penalty there for marrying a Christian.
Daniel Wani is a Sudanese man with U.S. citizenship who has been living in Manchester, New Hampshire.
His pregnant wife, Meriam Yehya Ibrahim Ishag, became the focus of worldwide news reports last week after the Sudanese government sentenced her to death.
The Islamic court considered Ishag a Muslim and did not recognize her marriage to Wani, a Christian. That constituted a crime of adultery and she was sentenced to receive 100 lashes.
The court also found her guilty of apostasy by converting to Christianity and sentencing her to be hanged.
The flogging and the death penalty were to be delayed until after she gave birth.
Ishag is considered Muslim by Sudan's courts because her father was Muslim, though she was raised by her Christian mother.
Wani and his brother, Gabriel Wani, grew up in Sudan but moved to New Hampshire. Gabriel told ABC News affiliate WMUR that Daniel has returned to Sudan to try and save his wife's life.
“I’m just praying for God. He can do a miracle,” he said. “Everyone is depressed. You don’t believe it. It’s shock.”
“You cannot believe that’s going to happen,” Gabriel said. “It’s a good family, a happy family.”
Neither Gabriel nor Daniel could be reached for comment Monday by ABC News.
The U.S. condemned Sudan's court ruling last week, with both the State Department and the White House calling on Sudan to uphold its human rights commitments.
U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who represents New Hampshire, has asked Secretary of State John Kerry to grant Ishag political asylum.
The Sudan Tribune reported over the weekend that the country's parliament speaker, al-Fatih Izz Al-Din, downplayed the death sentence and said it was only preliminary and could be appealed in the future.
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