Sudan (International Christian Concern) – A young Christian couple in Sudan who have two children together are facing 100 lashes on charges of “adultery” after a sharia (Islamic law) court nullified their marriage following the husband’s conversion to Christianity.
The couple, 34-year-old Hamouda and 25-year-old Nada from Al Jazirah state, got married in 2016 when both were Muslims. In 2018, after they had been married for two years, Kafi became a Christian and the couple faced severe backlash from their community.
The family of Nada, Hamouda’s wife, filed a case in a sharia court. Their marriage was dissolved by the court, as apostasy was a crime punishable by death at the time.
In 2021, Nada also converted to Christianity and returned with their two children to her husband, as Sudan had decriminalized apostasy a year after the end of President Omar al-Bashir’s Islamist regime. Both are members of a Baptist church.
However, conversion to Christianity is still not socially acceptable in Sudan’s Muslim community.
Nada’s brother charged the couple with adultery under Article 146 of Sudan’s 1991 criminal law based on the Sharia court’s annulment of their marriage, leading to the couple’s arrest last August.
While the couple got bail four days later, the charges remained.
“The court has interrogated the couple after two of the witnesses told the court that the marriage between the couple is illegal. As a result, they are accused of adultery,” their attorney was quoted as saying.
In the case of adultery by an unmarried person, Article 146 calls for a sentence of flogging and expulsion from the area. If the convicted is married, adultery is punishable by death by stoning under Article 146.
After regularly being included among the worst countries in the world when it comes to Christian persecution, Sudan was removed from the U.S. State Department’s list of “countries of particular concern” in December 2019. The “CPC” list designates nations that tolerate or engage in egregious violations of religious freedom.
However, advances in religious freedom lasted for only two years in Sudan until a military coup last October.
The coup brought back fears of repression and harsh implementation of Islamic law, as an Islamist “deep state” rooted in former President al-Bashir’s 30 years of power remains influential.
Please join ICC in praying for this couple and their young children, as they face persecution from their community.
This article originally appeared here.