News / Africa

Christian Woman on Death Row Leaves Sudan, Meets Pope

In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis meets Meriam Ibrahim, from Sudan, with her daughter Maya in her arms, at the Vatican, July 24, 2014.
In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis meets Meriam Ibrahim, from Sudan, with her daughter Maya in her arms, at the Vatican, July 24, 2014.
VOA News

A woman who received a death sentence in Sudan for refusing to recant her Christian faith flew into Rome on an Italian government plane on Thursday and hours later met the Pope.

The White House says it is "delighted" that she is now safe and free and coming to the United States.

Meriam Yahya Ibrahim walked off the aircraft cradling her baby and was greeted by Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi, saying it was a "day of celebration".

Italy’s vice minister for foreign affairs, Lapo Pistelli, left, greets Mariam Yahya Ibrahim and her family arriving from Sudan in Rome July 24, 2014.Italy’s vice minister for foreign affairs, Lapo Pistelli, left, greets Mariam Yahya Ibrahim and her family arriving from Sudan in Rome July 24, 2014.
x
Italy’s vice minister for foreign affairs, Lapo Pistelli, left, greets Mariam Yahya Ibrahim and her family arriving from Sudan in Rome July 24, 2014.
Italy’s vice minister for foreign affairs, Lapo Pistelli, left, greets Mariam Yahya Ibrahim and her family arriving from Sudan in Rome July 24, 2014.

Soon afterwards, Ibrahim, her husband and two children had a private meeting with Pope Francis in the Vatican. 

"The Pope thanked her for her witness to faith,'' Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said.

The meeting, which lasted around half an hour, was intended as a "sign of closeness and solidarity for all those who suffer for their faith,'' he added.

What led to departure

There were no details on what led up to the 27-year-old's departure after a month in limbo in Khartoum, but a senior Sudanese official said it had been cleared by the government.

Italy joined with the United States in helping to free Ibrahim, and the country's vice minister of foreign affairs accompanied her on the flight from Khartoum.

In May, she received the death sentence on a conviction of apostasy. The conviction stemmed from a Sudanese law stating children of Muslim fathers are considered Muslim. 

Ibrahim was born to a Christian mother and a Muslim father. She was brought up as a Christian after her father left the family.

Adultery charges

A court also sentenced Ibrahim to 100 lashes on charges of adultery for marrying Daniel Wani, who is a Christian. Under Sudanese law, marriage between Muslims and non-Muslims is not permitted.

In June, a Sudanese court overturned Ibrahim's conviction. She was released from prison but was detained by Sudanese authorities when her family tried to board a flight leaving the country. Officials questioned the authenticity of her travel documents.

The family then took refuge at the U.S. Embassy in Sudan. Ibrahim's husband, Wani, is a U.S. citizen.

 Italian officials say the family plans to travel to the U.S. within a few days.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: John B Kuon from: Juba,South Sudan
July 25, 2014 8:55 AM
Ms Ibrahim is the woman of high moral values and conviction,despite death threat over her head by Islamic fundamentalist in Khartoum she did not shy away or regret the decission she took,she is real christian and my advice to Muslim community is to respect the freedom of religion as God is one let every one choose his/her believe and have tolerance on that.


by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
July 25, 2014 1:56 AM
I give credit to Meriam Yahya Ibrahim for her incredible withstanding against threats on her life. Unlike most of us, Africans, she is a person of good moral principles. But the international media reported recently that her immediate family were somewhat behind her ordeal in Sudan.
Mamma Ibrahim has both Islamic and Christianity background, she has the right to choose freely any religion she might think will take her to paradise or hell of fire! But we should remind ourselves that there's no religion better than any other religion because all earthly religions are fundamentally bogus!


by: Taiwo Mike Idowu from: Abuja, Nigeria
July 25, 2014 1:47 AM
Halelluyah! Jesus is Lord, Thank God for Her life and Her family to know Jesus, He is the way to Heaven. I pray may the Lord continue to empower them.


by: vic from: ador
July 24, 2014 9:45 PM
I was deeply moved to tears , especially , the fact that this woman her her baby in the devils chains. Thanks to the pope for a human face.


by: ali baba from: new york
July 24, 2014 5:04 PM
Happy ending for brave woman whom she stand in her belief. What about million killed because they are Christian. the president of that country is wanted by international court for crime against humanity . Some body get him for his crimes that million died


by: Blackstar Deng Bol from: juba
July 24, 2014 3:51 PM
I really believe she is really Christian with trauma she had. Her faithful is well known by world.


by: Godwin from: Nigeria
July 24, 2014 1:57 PM
That is called a triumphant Trojan, what a solidarity in real time and responsible manner. Ibrahim is just one person out of millions who want freedom in all these islamist countries. Had her husband not been a US citizen, what would have been her fate, or how would her case looked like? There is international criminal court at the Hague, just as there is world bank with branches everywhere, why can't the international criminal court have its branches worldwide so the citizens of the earth do not have to rely on parochial, draconian and medieval or barbaric laws of oligarchies when such laws do not satisfy the yearnings of people who have grown above the backwardness of their localities? The world must be given a voice to speak out, and institutions must be established to cater for people especially in the islamist regions to be able to find their freedom in a world that is free. Thanking God for this mercy, I want to pray for Sudan to receive the light of the dawn of democracies and freedom to allow its citizens develop in line with a world that frowns at the kind of darkness into which its draconian laws drag its citizens

In Response

by: John Stefanyszyn from: Montreal, Canada
July 25, 2014 1:59 PM
“... the Vatican said, the Pope "desired to show his closeness, attention and prayer also to all those who suffer for their faith, in particular to Christians who are enduring persecution or limitations imposed upon their religious freedom." ref. CNN Belief Blog (July 24)

Jorge Bergoglio ( “Pope Francis”) ….praying for religious freedom.

But NOTE...this worshipped and glorified “RELIGIOUS FREEDOM” dictates that it is RIGHT to worship ANY ‘GOD’.

Did not the One Creator command man that he is not to ( that he is not free) to worship any other ‘god’?
Did not the Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the One and Only Creator, say that it is written that we are to worship ONLY the One Lord Your God and Him Alone to SERVE in obedience and love...love for Him and love for, to DO GOOD, to the fellow man?

Soon, very soon, the Anointed Lord Jesus will return to rule the earth in power as the One King according to the Will of the One Who Gives Existence to All that Exists and NOT according to man’s first love for “his self-freedom”, for his desire to serve, exalt, and magnify oneself (XES).


by: Anonymous
July 24, 2014 1:57 PM
I like the bravery of this woman. People should choose the husbands thelike to marry. Let people abandon religions they feel is not serving the purpose of religion.Islam is seen as the religion that spreads fear and threaten people abandoning it.


by: chris from: Hertfordshire
July 24, 2014 1:51 PM
What a happy ending for them all, may they all now be happy together for years to come.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid