As Sudanese authorities are facing growing international pressure to halt the execution of a woman sentenced to death for allegedly converting to Christianity, conflicting statements on the case have raised confusion about the prisoner's fate.
There was brief hope on Saturday when Sudanese foreign ministry official Abdullah al-Azraq told journalists that Meriam Yehya Ibrahim would be "freed within days." Agence France Press reported that al-Azraq said the 27-year-old would be released "in line with legal procedure that will be taken by the judiciary and the ministry of justice."
However, Sudan's foreign ministry clarified the next day that Ibrahim would only leave jail if her appeal is successful, adding that al-Azraq's comments had been taken "out of context."
"She has all the rights to appeal. But, our government has nothing to do with the case,” Sudanese Information Minister Ahmed Bilal said on Monday, according to Voice of America.
According to Ibrahim's lawyer Elshareef Ali Mohammed, the official's suggestion that she would be freed was intended to silence the international media. “We will not believe that she is being freed until she walks out of the prison," he said, the Telegraph reported.
A Sudanese court convicted Ibrahim of apostasy last month, sentencing her to hang. Ibrahim's execution was postponed after she gave birth to a baby girl in prison last week. CNN reports that her lawyer has lodged an appeal against the sentence, but it's not clear when a ruling will take place.
Ibrahim denies that she converted from Islam to Christianity -- which is illegal in Sudan -- because she was raised as a Christian by her mother. However, because her father is Muslim, the court considers her Muslim.