Meriam Ibrahim and her family meet with Pope Francis at the Casa Santa Marta July 24 (photo via Vatican Radio).
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,
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
Ibrahim and her family arrived in Italy today and was
greeted at Rome’s Ciampino airport by Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, according
Vatican Radio has more on Ibrahim’s meeting with Pope
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.