Editor’s Note: Meriam Ibrahim is a courageous woman. Facing a death sentence for her faith, giving birth to her child on death row, being released from prison and now finally escaping to freedom with her family; Meriam has been through a lot. Finally, she is getting some well deserved rest. Check out her visit with the Pope.
Pope Francis has met privately with a Sudanese mother in Rome who was put on death row for refusing to become a Muslim.
The Vatican said Pope Francis had ‘a very affectionate’ meeting with Meriam Ibrahim, 27, her husband and their two small children.
Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said the pope ‘thanked her for her faith and courage, and she thanked him for his prayer and solidarity’ during the half-hour meeting.
He blessed Ms Ibrahim as she held her baby daughter Maya in her arms whom she gave birth to in prison two months ago.
Ms Ibrahim, and her family touched down at Rome’s Ciampino airport at around 9.30am on a plane provided by the Italian government.
She was greeted at the airport by Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, his wife Agnese and Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini.
The mother-of-two was accompanied on the flight by Italy’s Deputy Foreign Minister Lapo Pistelli, who met with Meriam on July 3 and has been following the case closely.
He told journalists he had been in ‘constant dialogue’ with Sudan but did not give any more details on Rome’s role in securing her exit.
Mr Pistelli published a photograph on his Facebook page of himself with Ms Ibrahim and her two children on the plane with the caption: ‘A couple of minutes away from Rome. Mission accomplished.’
He also told reporters at the airport that the family was in good health and would stay in Italy for a few days before departing for the U.S.
The minister, who carried one of Ibrahim’s young children off the plane, said he expected her to have ‘some important meetings’ during her time in Italy.
Ms Ibrahim’s stay in Italy was organised by the Italian government in collaboration with the Sudanese government.
Speaking to the MailOnline, Mr Wani’s brother Gabriel said: ‘It’s beautiful news. All the hard work has paid off. I want to thank everyone who helped to free her.
‘It’s just wonderful. I don’t have to worry any more. It’s over.
The case drew worldwide attention in May when she was sentenced to death over charges of apostasy. A daughter of a Muslim father, Ms Ibrahim was raised by her Christian mother.