Meriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese woman who'd been sentenced to death under Islamic law, arrived in Rome on Thursday, less than a day after U.S. lawmakers held a hearing in search of ways to help her.
Ibrahim and her two children were accompanied on the flight by Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Lapo Pistelli, who posted a photo from the trip on his Facebook page, according to a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Federica Mogherini, Italy's Foreign Affairs minister, called the development a "great joy" and thanked the "efforts of many" within the Italian government.
It isn't immediately clear whether the U.S. State Department was involved with her flight to Italy. The flight was provided by Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's office.
But a State Department spokesman told National Journal on Wednesday that Ibrahim and her two children "have all the documents they need to enter the United States as soon as the government of Sudan allows them to exit the country."
Pistelli told Reuters that Ibrahim plans to stay in Rome briefly before traveling to the United States.
Ibrahim, her husband, and two young children were reportedly staying at the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum before they left for Rome, although the State Department had declined to discuss the family's location for safety reasons.
Ibrahim skyrocketed to international attention in May after the Sudanese government sentenced her to death for, what it considered, a conversion from Islam to Christianity. Though Ibrahim was raised as a Christian by her mother, the Sudanese courts convicted her of renouncing her religion because her father is Muslim. The same courts convicted her of adultery, because Islamic law does not recognize her 2011 marriage to her Christian husband, who is a citizen of both the United States and South Sudan.
A House Foreign Affairs subcommittee hearing on Wednesday focused on Ibrahim's situation, with Republican Rep. Chris Smith saying: "We intend for this hearing to be a strong appeal to the government of Sudan to end the legal entanglements."
This story has been updated to reflect Ibrahim leaving for Rome.
This article appears in the July 24, 2014 edition of NJ Daily.
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