Mariam Yahia Ebrahim Ishag, 27, is eight months pregnant and married to a Christian national of South Sudan which broke away in 2011, human rights activists say.
“We gave you three days to recant but you insist on not returning to Islam. I sentence you to be hanged,” Judge Abbas Mohammad Al Khalifa told the woman, addressing her by her father’s Muslim name, Adraf Al Hadi Mohammad Abdullah.
Khalifa also sentenced Ishaq to 100 lashes for “adultery”. Under Sudan’s interpretation of sharia, a Muslim woman cannot marry a non-Muslim man and any such relationship is regarded as adulterous.
Ishag reacted without emotion when Abbas delivered the verdict at a court in the Khartoum district of Haj Yousef.
Earlier in the hearing, an Islamic religious leader spoke with her in the caged dock for about 30 minutes.
Then she calmly told the judge: “I am a Christian and I never committed apostasy.”
“We call upon the government of Sudan to respect the right to freedom of religion, including one’s right to change one’s faith or beliefs,” the embassies of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands said in their statement.
That right is included in Sudan’s 2005 interim constitution as well as in international human rights law, they said.
The embassies urged Sudanese legal authorities “to approach Mariam’s case with justice and compassion that is in keeping with the values of the Sudanese people”.
Amnesty International said Ishag was raised as an Orthodox Christian, her mother’s religion, because her Muslim father was absent.
“It’s not only Sudan. In Saudi Arabia, in all the Muslim countries, it is not allowed at all for a Muslim to change his religion,” Information Minister Ahmad Bilal Osman told AFP earlier.