Meriam Ibrahim and her family arrived aboard an Italian government plane at Rome’s Ciampino airport at around 9 o’clock this morning. She was accompanied from Khartoum by Italy’s deputy foreign minister, Lapo Pistelli.
Italy’s Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, was among those present to welcome the Ibrahim family on their arrival. “It’s a day of celebration,” he said.
Pistelli said Ibrahim and her two children “are well and in very good shape”. He added they will have “important appointments over the next few days before they leave for the United States.” He also said the Prime Minister had informed Pope Francis of her release.
Born to a Muslim father and Christian mother, Ibrahim was jailed and in May sentenced to death by a Sudanese court, accused of converting from Islam to Christianity. She was also charged with committing adultery since her marriage to a Christian cannot be recognised under sharia law.
Ibrahim, who gave birth to a baby girl while in shackles, said she never came close to renouncing her faith.
Speaking recently at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Renzi called on Europe to speak out in defence of Ibrahim as well as for hundreds of girls kidnapped in Nigeria and for Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who has spent years in jail for alleged blasphemy in Pakistan.
“If there isn’t a European reaction [to these cases], we are not worthy to call ourselves Europe,” he said.
Last week, the European Parliament passed a resolution condemning the Sudanese government for its treatment of Ibrahim and for other human rights abuses.