The Sudanese woman who was spared a death sentence for converting from Islam to Christianity, and then barred from leaving Sudan, arrived in Italy on Thursday, an Italian government official said, according to a story published by the Voice of America.
Meriam Yahya Ibrahim, 27, was on a plane accompanied by Italy's vice minister of foreign affairs, Lapo Pistelli, according to the official who asked not to be named.
"Meriam, the young Christian woman held in Khartoum after being condemned to death for apostasy, should be arriving in Italy on a government flight," the official said in a text message, without specifying when the flight had left.
In late June, Ibrahim was arrested as she tried to board a plane for the United States. Sudanese police accused her of traveling with a forged passport. Three days after that arrest, she was released and immediately sought refuge in the U.S. embassy with her husband - a South Sudanese-born U.S. citizen - and their two children. The family had stayed there nearly a month.
In Washington, Marie Harf, the U.S. State Department Deputy Spokeswoman acknowledged the family’s arrival, and said they are safe. “Italian officials worked with both American and Sudanese officials in her departure,” Harf said in the department’s press briefing on Thursday monitored by a SaharaReporters correspondent.
A few hours after landing in Rome, Ibrahim and her family met with Pope Francis, who blessed her. A U.S.A Today article reports that Ibrahim's family will leave for the United States after a few days in Rome.
Ibrahim's mother was a Christian and her father a Muslim. Under Sudanese law, she is a Muslim even though she was brought up as a Christian after her father abandoned the family.