EXCLUSIVE: The REAL reason pregnant mother was sentenced to death in Sudan? Jealous family got her charged to STEAL her successful business claims her American husband's legal team
It has been billed as high-minded prosecution to uphold the strict rules of Shariah law.
But MailOnline can reveal that the real reasons why a pregnant woman in Sudan has been sentenced to death for being a Christian are all too human.
Jealousy and greed drove Meriam Ibrahim’s own family to file a lawsuit against her alleging apostasy and adultery which led to the criminal charges she now faces, it is claimed.
Her half brother and half sister - who had not seen her for decades - tracked her down so they could get rid of her and take over her successful general store, Meriam’s lawyers alleged.
The legal team for Meriam, whose husband is an American citizen, are being paid for by Justice Centre Sudan, a US-based non-profit that campaigns for human rights in the African country.
A spokesman for the organization said: ‘We believe the family filed the lawsuit because they want to gain control of the business.
‘If Meriam stays in jail she could lose everything and they could be the ones to benefit.’
The spokeswoman added that if Meriam is forced to leave Sudan then her half brother and half sister may well take over the business as well.
It is not clear if, under Sudanese law, such a scheme would work as intended, or if a business owner would be allowed to sell it on.
But it gives a disturbing new insight into the reasons why an eight-months pregnant woman has been thrown in a prison cell in shackles with her 20-month old boy whilst expecting her second child - and become the center of an international outcry.
The heartbreaking situation was illustrated by exclusive pictures obtained by MailOnline which showed Meriam’s husband Daniel, who is in a wheelchair, holding Martin under the close watch of prison guards with rifles slung over their shoulders.
He had flown in from his home in Manchester, New Hampshire in a desperate bid to free his wife and son from their terrible fate.
Meriam, 27, was thrown in jail in September and earlier this month was sentenced to death for adultery for marrying Daniel, a Christian who has US citizenship.
The visit to the Khartoum prison was was the first time that Daniel was able to see his wife since she was imprisoned in September.
Judges in the city have sentenced Mariam to death and 100 lashes as the Sudanese court refuses to recognize her 2011 marriage to Daniel because her father was a Muslim.
The Justice Centre Sudan spokeswoman said: ‘When Meriam’s father left her mother when she was six he went to another part of Sudan and had another family.
‘Meriam did not know about this. She did not even know her father had died until many years after the event. Nor did she know he was a Muslim.
‘Meriam’s mother died in 2012 and by then she had still not heard from her half brothers and sisters.
‘There were years and years that went by when that side of the family did not want a relationship with her.
‘Recently Meriam has been running a successful business in Khartoum. It’s a general store in a shopping mall and she has been selling some Ethiopian items as her mother was from there.
‘They’ve been doing really well and the business was growing and Daniel has been helping her out.
‘Her half brother and half sister must have heard about this and worked out she was a relative of theirs because of her name.
‘The first thing Meriam knew about them was when her half brother and half sister filed the lawsuit.
‘She was arrested from her home and thrown in jail with no warning.’
This comes as John Kerry faced renewed calls to act on behalf of the American citizen whose heavily pregnant wife, son and unborn child are locked up in jail in Sudan - as MailOnline reveals the family’s emotional reunion behind bars.
Two senators have sent the Secretary of State a second letter demanding that more be done to help Daniel Wani and Meriam Ibrahim, who is awaiting a death sentence for marrying her Christian husband.
New Hampshire's Senator Kelly Ayotte and fellow Republican Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri said they are concerned that the government is wasting time with bureaucracy.
In their letter to Kerry they said that the holdup was ‘preventing needed high-level engagement’ and that he had to intervene personally.
The senators had already written a first letter but have grown frustrated and demanded Kerry do something again.
Meanwhile in exclusive pictures obtained by MailOnline, Daniel, who is in a wheelchair, can be seen holding Martin under the close watch of prison guards with rifles slung over their shoulders after he flew from Manchester, New Hampshire in a desperate bid to free the 20-months-old and his wife from their terrible fate.
Meriam - who is eight-months pregnant - was thrown in jail in September and earlier this month was sentenced to death for adultery for marrying Daniel, who has US citizenship.
The heartbreaking visit to the Khartoum prison was was the first time that Daniel was able to see his wife since she was imprisoned in September.
Source: Daily Mail