Meriam Ibrahim Finally Leaves Sudan After Being Sentenced to Death for Her Faith

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 24, 2014   |   8:51AM   |   Washington, DC

The Sudanese woman who was pregnant and sentenced to death for not recanting her faith has finally been allowed to leave Sudan after she spent weeks in a U.S. embassy after her release from prison.

At eight months pregnant, Ibrahim had been sentenced to death for not renouncing her Christian faith and she was imprisoned and eventually forced to give birth in chains while shackled in the Omdurman Federal Women’s Prison in North Khartoum, Sudan.

Ibrahim was freed from prison after an appeals court found a lower court’s death penalty sentence to be unfounded. Ibrahim and her husband, who has both Sudanese and U.S. citizenship, traveled to the airport in Khartoum to leave the country for the U.S. They were arrested at the airport and accused of using forged travel documents, a claim Ibrahim denies.

meriam20After they were released, they went to the U.S. embassy, where they were in a “makeshift” home there. But they had been there for some time.

Now, Ibrahim has flown to Italy on her way to the United States — a flight that came one day after pro-life Rep. Chris Smith led a Congressional hearing about Ibrahim’s plight featuring pro-life leader Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council.

In an email to LifeNews, Perkins expressed deep gratitude and relief early this morning after learning that Meriam Ibrahim and her family arrived in Italy.

“We celebrate Meriam Ibrahim and her family’s escape to freedom. It is our hope and prayer that Meriam and her family will now enjoy the liberty to practice their Christian faith without government interference or persecution,” he said.

“We are grateful to several members of Congress on both sides of the aisle who have worked to secure Meriam’s freedom and facilitate her entry into the United States. Particular thanks to U.S. Reps. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), Chris Smith (R-N.J.), and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who were very instrumental in Meriam’s release,” he added. “Additionally I want to applaud the efforts of other Members of Congress like Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), Frank Wolf (R-Va.) and Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mary Landrieu (D-La.) who were deeply involved in securing Meriam’s freedom. I also thank the European governments that worked to secure her release.”

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said “a warning should be sounded across America” over the Obama administration’s “virtual silence” toward the Sudanese government’s persecution of Meriam Ibrahim, who was imprisoned in Sudan for being a Christian.

Shortly after Perkins testified Wednesday before a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee, Ibrahim and her family – two young children and her American husband – were allowed to leave the U.S. Embassy in Sudan, where they took refuge on June 27.

They arrived in Rome on Thursday, their exit from Sudan reportedly negotiated by the Italian government and the Vatican — not the United States.

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In his testimony to Congress, Perkins said Ibrahim has shown more courage than the Obama administration throughout her ordeal:

“We are here because of the courage of a 27-year-old mother — a 27-year-old mother, if you’ll just imagine the situation for a moment, in a prison on Khartoum [Sudan], which the U.N. says has an infant mortality rate of one child dying per day in that prison. At her side, at eight months pregnant, is a 21-month-old boy. And she is told that if she will denounce her faith in Jesus Christ, there’s the door, you can be a free person. But yet she refused to denounce her faith because she had the courage to stare death in the face.”

“What has America done?” Perkins challenged. “Where is the courage in America?”

“While other governments have called attention to Meriam’s situation, including the European parliament passing a resolution and the British government’s prime minister speaking out publicly, the U.S. government has been practically mute,” Perkins said.

Ibrahim is due to meet Pope Francis in the Vatican today, after being rescued from Sudan by Italy’s deputy foreign minister.

Ibrahim was greeted at Rome’s Ciampino Airport by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and his wife, Agnese, after being accompanied on an official government plane from Khartoum by Lapo Pistelli, the deputy foreign minister.She is expected to remain in Rome for a few days before heading on to the United States.

Meriam is a Sudanese Christian, married to a U.S. citizen, who was sentenced to death by a Sudan court for the “crime” of converting from Islam, and 100 lashes for “adultery.” Meriam spent months in a notoriously rank Sudanese prison with her 21-month-old son and her newborn daughter.