A Sudanese court has given aandnbsp;27-year-old woman until Thursday to abandon her Christian faith or face a death sentence,andnbsp;judicial sources have said.
Mariam Yahya Ibrahim Ishag, who was born to a Muslim father, was charged with apostasy, as well asandnbsp;adultery, for marrying a Christian man, something prohibited forandnbsp;Muslim women to do and which makes the marriage void.
The human rights group, Amnesty International, said Ishag was raised as an Orthodox Christian, her mother's religion, because her Muslim father was absent.
Ibrahim'sandnbsp;case was the first of its kind to be heard in Sudan, the Reuters news agency reported.andnbsp;A final ruling will be announced on Thursday.
Sudanese rights activists sharply condemnedandnbsp;the accusations and called on the Sudanese government to respect freedom of faith.
"The details of this case expose the regime's blatant interference in the personal life of Sudanese citizens," Sudan Change Now Movement, a youth group, said in a statement.
Western embassies in Khartoum also expressed "deep concern" over the case.
"We call upon the government of Sudan to respect the right to freedom of andnbsp;religion, including one's right to change one's faith or beliefs," the embassies of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands said in a joint statement.
The embassies urged Sudanese legal authorities "to approach Ms Meriam's case with justice and compassion that is in keeping with the values of the Sudanese people".
Speaking to the AFP news agency, Ahmed Bilal Osman,andnbsp;Sudan's Information minister,andnbsp;said: "It's not only Sudan. In Saudi Arabia, in all the Muslim countries, it is not allowed at all for a Muslim to change his religion."
President Omar Hassan al-Bashir's government is facing aandnbsp;huge economic and political challenge after the 2011 secessionandnbsp;of South Sudan, which was Sudan's main source of oil.
A decision by Bashir last year to cut subsidies and impose austerity measures prompted violent protests in which dozensandnbsp;were killed and hundreds were injured.