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Christian Entity Concerned about Sudanese Couple’s Prosecution for Converting from Islam

Credit: CSW

The leadership of the UK-based human rights foundation, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), has expressed concern about the criminal prosecution of a Sudanese couple that converted from Islam to Christianity.

Last year, the family of Nada Hamad Koko filed a criminal charge against their daughter and her husband, Hamoda Teya Kaffi, after discovering that she had converted to Christianity, as her spouse had done in 2018.

Prior to instituting the case last year, Ms. Koko’s family had filed for their daughter’s divorce after realizing that her husband converted to Christianity. 

In line with the law that prohibits marriage between a Christian man and Muslim woman, the court granted the divorce and annulled the marriage.

Ms. Koko returned to her family’s home together with her two children after the divorce was finalized. However, in August 2021, she decided to reunite with her husband after converting to Christianity. 

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Her family filed a criminal case against the couple; they were arrested and charged with adultery.

In a Thursday, January 13 report, CSW Founder President says officials of the human rights organization are “deeply concerned by the criminal prosecution of Ms. Koko and Mr. Kaffi, whose case highlights the fact that the failure to reform Sudan’s legal landscape has opened the door to legal harassment.”

“We call for the immediate dismissal of criminal charges against this couple, and urge further legal reform to ensure that the right to freedom of religion or belief, including the right to change one’s religion or belief, is fully guaranteed to every Sudanese citizen,” Mr. Mervyn Thomas said. 

Sudan decriminalized apostasy in July 2020. 

CSW officials express concern about the prosecution's failure to adhere to the law as Ms. Koko was charged for converting to Christianity. 

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CSW Founder President says the case “illustrates the importance of adopting a gender perspective within the broader legal reform process.”  

Mr. Mervyn adds that the prosecution of Koko and Kaffi is in the context of the military coup army’s "objective of systematically obstructing and reversing the progressive advances made during the transitional period.”

The case against Ms. Koko and Mr. Kaffi is similar to that of Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese Christian woman who faced trial for apostasy and adultery in 2014. 

A Sudanese court ruled that Ms. Ibrahim was a Muslim because that was her father’s religious identity despite the fact that she had never practiced Islam. 

Ms. Ibrahim was freed from death row in 2018

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