Meriam Ibrahim: 'Apostasy' woman and family arrive in Italy after finally leaving Sudan

Ms Ibrahim was sentenced to death for marrying the man she loved and 'converting from Islam to Christianity' in May

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The Independent Online

The Sudanese woman who was sentenced to death for "apostasy" and made to give birth with her legs chained together in jail has finally escaped the country on an Italian government plane.

TV footage showed Meriam Ibrahim and her family arriving at Rome's Ciampino airport alongside the Italian deputy foreign minister, after her case triggered outrage and condemnation around the world.

The family's sudden appearance in Italy came as a surprise - not least to her own lawyer Mohaned Mostafa.

Ms Ibrahim has been stuck inside the US embassy in Sudan for a month and had been expected to travel at some point to America, where her husband has citizenship.

Despite quashing her death sentence last month, the Sudanese government had blocked her from leaving the country with her husband and two small children, claiming her travel documents were "falsified".

Meriam Ibrahim, her family and her legal team in a photo taken after she was freed on Monday

Mr Mostafa, who told reporters he had not been made aware of any plans to take the family to Italy, said those charges had not been dropped.

"I don't know anything about such news but so far the complaint that was filed against Meriam and which prevents her from travelling from Sudan has not been cancelled," he said.

Video: (May) Meriam Ibrahim gives birth in prison

Ms Ibrahim says she was born and raised as a Christian by an Ethiopian family in Sudan and later abducted by a Sudanese Muslim family.

The Muslim family has denied her claim and and filed a lawsuit to have her marriage annulled last week in a new attempt to stop her leaving the country. That case was later dropped.

The Italian Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, mentioned Ms Ibrahim's case in his speech to inaugurate Italy's six-month European Union presidency earlier this month.

"If there is no European reaction we cannot feel worthy to call ourselves 'Europe'," Renzi said.


Read more: What is apostasy?

Muslim women are not permitted to marry Christian men under the strict rules of Islamic law enforced in Sudan.

Ms Ibrahim, her husband and their two small children had been staying at the US Embassy in Khartoum.

Additional reporting by Reuters