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Sudanese Woman Goes From Death Sentence To Meeting Pope

Mariam Ibrahim, once sentenced to death for her religious beliefs, is now free and has left Sudan. Thursday she met with Pope Francis.
Posted at 2:28 PM, Jul 24, 2014

It's been a long and difficult road for Mariam Ibrahim, the Sudanese mother who was sentenced to death after converting from Islam to Christianity. 

But now she and her family have safely left the country and are in Italy, where they met Pope Francis Thursday. (Via CBN-TV)

​​Vatican Radio reports the half-hour meeting was "very serene and affectionate." 

According to a spokesperson, the pope "thanked her for her faith and courage, and she thanked him for his prayer and solidarity."

The Telegraph has the story of how the family traveled on an Italian government plane. When they arrived they were met by Matteo Renzi, the new Italian prime minister.

"He's taken a personal interest in her case, mentioning it the first time he addressed the European Union in Brussels." (Via BBC)

During that speech he said, "If there is no European reaction we cannot feel worthy to call ourselves 'Europe.'" (Via Getty Images)

Ibrahim was freed late last month after spending seven months in prison. In May she was forced to give birth to her daughter with her legs chained together, which sparked international outrage.

But her freedom didn't last long — less than 24 hours after her release, she and her family were detained at a Sudanese airport while trying to travel to the U.S. (Via Al Jazeera)

"Sudanese authorities said Mariam Ibrahim's travel documents, issued by the South Sudanese Embassy, were a criminal violation." (Via Euronews)

But the BBC reports before Ibrahim left for Italy, her passport was returned and she was granted permission to leave the country, where her life is still very much in danger. 

Ibrahim and her family are expected to stay Italy for a few days and then travel to the U.S., where her husband has citizenship.