Manjit S. Gill QC chairs discussion of international human rights experts on the death penalty, apostasy, sexual immorality and religious freedoms.

On Wednesday 1 October, Birmingham City University hosted a panel of leading international experts to discuss the case of Meriam Ibrahim, which created a global media storm in May 2014 after she was sentenced to death in Sudan for apostasy and sexual immorality following her marriage to a Christian man. She gave birth to her daughter in shackles in prison but was finally released and able to leave the country. Apostasy cases are not unusual. This case attracted particular attention and raised issues of the use of the death penalty, women’s and children’s rights, religious freedoms, and the challenges of securing the rule of law. It also highlighted the role of civil society and the use of social media in raising awareness.

Manjit S. Gill QC, head of International Human Rights, No5 Chambers, provided an introduction to the issues and also chaired the discussion on the human rights issues arising. The experts were:

The Rt Hon Baroness Anelay, Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office,

Mr Elshareef Ali Mohammed, Sudanese lawyer, member of Meriam Ibrahim’s legal team,

Mr Andrew Hall QC, human rights lawyer and activist, Bar Human Rights Committee,

Dr Lutz Oette, German lawyer, lecturer in Law, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London, also working with REDRESS,

Dr Jon Yorke, Reader in Law at Birmingham City University and Member of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Expert Panel on the Death Penalty,

Miss Emily Clarke, student, and social media campaigner,

Mr Christopher Layden, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s specialist Desk Officer on the death penalty.

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