Meriam Ibrahim Is Free From Sudan

She arrived in Rome a day after Congress held a hearing on how to help her.

National Journal
Jordain Carney
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Jordain Carney
July 23, 2014, 1:42 p.m.

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.

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