Image: Pope Francis Meets Sudanese Woman Sentenced to Death
(Reuters/Landov)

Pope Francis Meets Sudanese Woman Sentenced to Death

Thursday, 24 Jul 2014 12:50 PM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink

Pope Francis met privately Thursday with a Sudanese woman who refused to recant her Christian faith in the face of a death sentence, blessing the woman as she cradled her infant daughter born just weeks ago in prison.

The Vatican characterized the visit with Meriam Ibrahim, 27, her husband and their two small children as "very affectionate."

The 30-minute encounter took place just hours after the family landed at Rome's Ciampino airport, accompanied by an Italian diplomat who helped negotiate her release, and welcomed by Italy's premier, who hailed it as a "day of celebration."

Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said the pope "thanked her for her faith and courage, and she thanked him for his prayer and solidarity." Francis frequently calls attention to the suffering of those persecuted for their religious beliefs.

Lombardi said the presence of "their wonderful small children" added to the affectionate tone of the meeting. Video footage released by the Vatican shows the pope giving the family papal medals and rosaries.

Ibrahim held her sleeping infant as she stepped off the plane from Sudan, which had initially blocked her from leaving the country even after the country's highest court overturned her death sentence in June. An Italian diplomat carried her 18-month-old son, while her husband, Daniel Wani, who is disabled, joined them on the tarmac in a wheelchairm.

Ibrahim and her family are expected to spend a few days in Rome before heading to the United States, where her husband is a citizen. Ibrahim's husband had lived in New Hampshire.

Ibrahim, whose father was Muslim but whose mother was an Orthodox Christian from Ethiopia, was sentenced to death over charges of apostasy. She married Wani, a Christian from southern Sudan, in a church ceremony in 2011. As in many Muslim nations, Muslim women in Sudan are prohibited from marrying non-Muslims, though Muslim men can marry outside their faith.

The sentence, issued in May, was condemned by the United States, the United Nations and Amnesty International, among others, and both the United States and Italy — a strong death penalty opponent with long ties to the Horn of Africa region — worked to win her release.

Sudan's high court threw out her death sentence in June, but she was then blocked from leaving the country by authorities who questioned the validity of her travel documents.

Lapo Pistelli, an Italian diplomat who accompanied the family from Sudan, said Italy was able to leverage its ties within the region. "We had the patience to speak to everyone in a friendly way. This paid off in the end," he said.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Tom DeLay: Americans' Rejecting Obama's Marxist Progressivism

Thursday, 18 Sep 2014 11:12 AM

President Barack Obama is a textbook Marxist who is trying to steer the country in that direction, but the American peop . . .

Scottish 'Yes' Campaign Pulled Page from Obama Playbook

Thursday, 18 Sep 2014 11:11 AM

The campaign for Scottish independence is taking a cue from one of the most successful political playbooks in history -  . . .

England, World Markets Brace for Scotland Vote Results

Thursday, 18 Sep 2014 11:06 AM

Scots held the fate of the United Kingdom in their hands Thursday as they voted in a referendum on becoming an independe . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved