Meriam Ibrahim and Family Safe in Italy
After Boarding an Italian Government Aircraft in Khartoum Late Wednesday, Meriam and Family Arrived Safely in Rome
International Christian Concern
International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Meriam Yahia Ibrahim, a 27-year-old mother of two and wife to an American citizen sentenced to death by a Sudanese court in May for her Christian faith, was cleared for travel late Wednesday and is now safely in Italy with her family. Thursday morning-accompanied by Italy's Deputy Foreign Minister Lapo Pistelli-Meriam, her husband Daniel Wani, and two children, Martin and Maya, deplaned at Rome's Ciampino airport.
News of the Ibrahims' departure was leaked to the media by way of a text message released by an unnamed Italian official, which read, "Meriam, the young Christian woman held in Khartoum after being condemned to death for apostasy, should be arriving in Italy on a government flight." The text was later followed by Deputy Minister Pistelli's exuberant Facebook post: "Mission accomplished."
According to the Daily Telegraph, Meriam "was released after intense diplomatic negotiations from the Italian government and the Vatican ended an ordeal that lasted almost a year." Though, NBC has stated that "it was not immediately clear how or why her flight to Italy was secured."
Following her release from a three-day detention after having been arrested at Khartoum airport-just one day after her June 23 court-ordered release and acquittal-for allegedly forging documents and providing false information when trying to leave the country, Meriam and her family had been provided refuge by the United States government.
The family's departure from Sudan-a U.S.-designated Country of Particular Concern for "systematic, ongoing and egregious religious freedom violations" since 1999-followed a hearing by the House Foreign Affairs Committee's Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations, Wednesday afternoon, during which ranking member Representative Karen Bass (D) (CA-37) stated her "understanding that [Meriam's] case was going to be resolved very soon."
Cameron Thomas, ICC's Regional Manager for Africa, said, "Last night, after a nearly year-long struggle, hundreds of thousands of prayers, millions of signatures, and countless hours of advocacy and diplomatic efforts came to pass: Meriam Ibrahim has been released, and she, her husband Daniel, and two children, Martin and Maya, now safe in Rome, are one step closer to a life together, free from persecution for exercising their right to freedom of religion. While celebration is in order, remembrance must be given to the many tens of thousands of others still suffering for their Christian faith under a Sudanese regime bent on establishing a 'purely Islamic' society, by any and all means."
For interviews, contact Cameron Thomas, Regional Manager for Africa: RM-Africa@persecution.org
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