After a year-long struggle with the Sudanese government, Meriam Ibrahim left Sudan on Thursday.
Alongside her husband Daniel Wani of Manchester and their two young children, Ibrahim flew to the Vatican to meet with Pope Francis today, according to the BBC. Ibrahim was blessed by the pontiff in a private ceremony and is due to return to the states in the next few days.
Ibrahim was sentenced to death on May 15th for rejecting Islam. Ibrahim, whose father was a Muslim, was raised as a Christian by her mother. Under strict sharia law, apostasy is punishable by death. Ibrahim was also charged with one count of adultery for marrying Daniel Wani, a Christian.
Ibrahim was set to be executed until United States officials got involved. Ibrahim and Wani were arrested at the Khartoum airport on June 23, just hours after being released from prison. However, after more negotiations, the couple left the country safely today.
U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte, both of whom had urged the U.S. government to do whatever it could to free Ibrahim, offered a joint statement today.
“We’re relieved that Meriam and her family have finally been allowed to leave Sudan and travel safely in Rome,” they said. “No one should be persecuted for exercising their right of religious freedom, and Meriam’s unwavering faith and determination in the face of danger are an inspiration to us all.”