Meriam Ibrahim arrives safely in Italy, meets Pope Francis

The Sudanese Christian woman who was imprisoned and sentenced to death for apostasy arrived safely in Italy today with her husband and two young children, and met with Pope Francis at his Casa Santa Marta residence, Vatican Radio reports.

Ibrahim was sentenced to death in May for converting from Islam and marrying a Christian. She gave birth to her second child while imprisoned and, while her apostasy sentence was overturned in June, was unable to leave Sudan for more than a month due to charges that she “falsified” travel documents.

Ibrahim and her family arrived in Italy today and was greeted at Rome’s Ciampino airport by Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, according to Reuters.

Vatican Radio has more on Ibrahim’s meeting with Pope Francis:

During the meeting, she was accompanied by her family: husband Daniel Wani,  Martin (a year and a half), and Maya, born in prison two months ago.

Her family was accompanied by the Italian Deputy Foreign Minister, Lapo Pistelli, who helped arrange her departure from Sudan and travelled with her to Italy.

The head of the Vatican Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi, SJ, said the meeting took place in a “very serene and affectionate” environment, and Pope Francis thanked Meriam for her “courageous witness to perseverance in the Faith.”

Fr. Lombardi said Meriam thanked the Pope for his prayers, saying they provided great support and encouragement. …

Fr. Lombardi said Pope Francis met with Meriam’s family to show “his closeness, concern and prayers” for all those who suffer for their faith, and especially for Christians who suffer persecution or restrictions on their religious freedom.

Meriam and her family will settle in the United States.

 

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Catherine Harmon is managing editor of Catholic World Report.