Sudanese Christian woman spared death sentence for apostasy flown to Italy
Published July 24, 2014FoxNews.com
Meriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese Christian woman who faced a death sentence for refusing to renounce her faith, has been flown to Italy on an Italian government jet, accompanied by that country's vice-minister for foreign affairs.
Reuters reported that Italian television broadcast images of Ibrahim, 27, arriving at Rome's Ciampino airport accompanied by her family and Italian politician Lapo Pistelli. Earlier, Pistelli had posted a picture on his Facebook page depicting himself with Ibrahim and her two children. The caption, translated from Italian, read "With Meriam, Maya, Martin and [Ibrahim's husband] Daniel, a few minutes from Rome. Mission accomplished."
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi was among those who greeted the plane, calling it "a day of celebration."
Pistelli told The Daily Telegraph that Ibrahim and her family were due to fly to the United States in a few days. The minister also said that the family would be given an audience with Pope Francis.
Ibrahim had spent more than a month at the American Embassy in Khartoum after a previous attempt to leave Sudan was halted by that country's authorities. They said she had attempted to use false travel documents, a claim Ibrahim denied.
Last month, Sudan's Supreme Court threw out the death sentence Ibrahim had received for refusing to renounce her Christian faith. Ibrahim's father, a Muslim, claimed she had abandoned Islam and committed adultery with her husband Daniel Wani, a U.S. citizen who lives in New Hampshire. However, Ibrahim insisted that she had been raised Christian by her Ehiopian Orthodox mother after her father left the family when she was still young.
Pistelli told the Associated Press that Italy had leveraged its historic ties within the Horn of Africa region to help win her release, though the specifics were not immediately clear. Ibrahim's lawyer, Mohaned Mostafa, told Reuters that he had not been aware of her departure.
"I don't know anything about such news but so far the complaint that was filed against Mariam and which prevents her from travelling from Sudan has not been cancelled," he said.