The Sudanese woman who was pregnant and sentenced to death for not recanting her faith is finally headed for the United States 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.
After 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.
Earlier this month, Ibrahaim and her family flew to Italy — 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. There, they met with Pope Francis.
Now, the Christian Post reports they are finally headed to the United States, where Meriam’s husband is from and, because of that, her children are American citizens.
Meriam Ibrahim, her husband, Daniel Wani, and their two children will be greeted quietly Thursday afternoon by Philadelphia’s Mayor Michael Nutter upon their arrival at the Philadelphia International Airport, in another leg of a harrowing persecution case that nearly resulted in the Orthodox Christian woman being executed for her faith by Sudanese authorities.
The family departed earlier this morning from Fiumicino Airport in Rome, where they had been transported after a hellish year-long ordeal that has enshrined Ibrahim, 27, as a near-martyr and resulted in her giving birth to her youngest child while shackled in prison.
The family is expected to touch down on an American Airlines or US Airways flight at the Philadelphia International Airport just a little after 3 p.m. According to an email sent Thursday morning by the Philadelphia mayor’s office, “Mayor Nutter will welcome Meriam Ibrahim and her family at the airport.”
According to a source close to the situation, Ibrahim, Wani and their children were being heavily shielded by the FBI and the TSA, so the family’s welcome by Mayor Nutter reportedly will happen quietly with no fanfare.
Ibrahim, holding her months-old daughter, Maya, was photographed as they made their way through Fiumicino Airport to catch their flight leaving Rome.
According to Antonella Napoli, an Italian journalist and activist who has been working closely with the family, Ibrahim stated that she was “a bit scared to leave Rome.”
“We have been very happy here. We have felt like a real family,” said the 27-year-old woman.