June 4, 2014, 6:16 AM
By Nima Elbagir
KHARTOUM, Sudan (CNN) -- "Father we ask that you stand with your child Mariam. We ask that you strengthen and support her and grant her your grace."
It's the Sunday service in Khartoum and the pastor is leading the Christian congregation in prayers for Mariam Yahya Ibrahim, the mother of two convicted last month for the crime of apostasy after a court ruled that she abandoned the Muslim faith.
It's crime she strenuously denies, maintaining both that she was raised Christian -- in spite of being born to a Muslim father -- and that she would have been within her rights to leave the faith. Neither statement has won her clemency under Sudan's harsh interpretation of Islamic law.