BBC Meriam Ibrahim Free at last, The Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi met the plane to welcome Meriam Ibrahim
A Sudanese woman who was spared a death sentence for renouncing Islam has flown to Italy after more than a month in the US embassy in Khartoum.
Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag and her family were met in Rome by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who said: “Today is a day of celebration.”
There was global condemnation when she was sentenced to hang for apostasy.
Her father is Muslim so according to Sudan’s version of Islamic law she is also Muslim and cannot convert.
Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag and her two children in Rome
Mrs Ibrahim’s daughter Maya was born in prison in May
She was raised by her Christian mother and says she has never been Muslim.
The BBC’s Alan Johnston in Rome says there was no prior indication of Italy’s involvement in the case.
Lapo Pistelli, Italy’s vice-minister for foreign affairs, accompanied her on the flight from Khartoum and posted a photo of himself with Mrs Ibrahim and her children on his Facebook account as they were about to land in Rome.
“Mission accomplished,” he wrote.
A senior Sudanese official told Reuters news agency that Sudan’s government had approved her departure in advance.
Mrs Ibrahim’s husband, Daniel Wani, also a Christian, is from South Sudan and has US nationality.
Daniel Wani in Rome airport
Mrs Ibrahim travelled with her husband Daniel Wani
Their daughter Maya was born in prison in May, shortly after Mrs Ibrahim was sentenced to hang for apostasy – renouncing one’s faith.
Under intense international pressure, her conviction was quashed and she was freed in June.
She was given South Sudanese travel documents but was arrested at Khartoum airport, with Sudanese officials saying the travel documents were fake.
These new charges meant she was not allowed to leave the country but she was released into the custody of the US embassy in Khartoum.
Last week, her father’s family filed a lawsuit trying to have her marriage annulled, on the basis that a Muslim woman is not allowed to marry a non-Muslim.