Mother convicted for apostasy in Sudan arrives in US
The Sudanese woman who fled to Italy after being spared a death sentence for renouncing Islam arrived in the United States on Thursday.
Maryam Yahya Ibrahim, her South Sudanese husband, and their two children arrived in Manchester, New Hampshire in the evening. They flew from Rome to Philadelphia en route to New Hampshire. On a brief stopover in Philadelphia, the city’s mayor, Michael Nutter, welcomed Ibrahim and described her as a “world freedom fighter”. Her next stop was Manchester, and there were about 40 relatives and supporters at the airport to greet her.
Daniel Wani, her husband, briefly thanked New Hampshire’s Sudanese community on his family’s behalf and said he appreciated the outpouring of support. “I can’t describe the feeling,” said Wani. “We are so tired. The ordeal is over.” Ibrahim, 27 years old, was smiling and seemed relieved, but did not speak publicly, Reuters reported.
Over a week ago, on 24 July, the family flew to Italy from Khartoum airport, where they met with the Pope. He thanked Ibrahim for her strong believe in faith.
Death sentence for ‘apostasy’
Ibrahim, pregnant at the time, was sentenced to death on 11 May by a Khartoum court for ‘apostasy’. She refused to renounce her Christian faith, as she was raised by her Christian mother, but was born as a Muslim. The detained Ibrahim was forced to give birth in the Federal Women’s Prison in Omdurman on 27 May. Her baby son had been detained with her since last February.
Ibrahim was also charged with adultery, since her marriage with a Christian man is prohibited in Islam. The European Union, international humanitarian organisations, and many countries started to condemn her case and treatment.
Ibrahim was freed from prison after an appeals court found the lower court’s death penalty sentence to be unfounded. Ibrahim and her husband, who also has the US nationality, went with their children to Khartoum airport to leave the country for the US, but were arrested again. Several days later, they managed to fly to Italy.
News photo: The Sudanese Maryam Yahya Ibrahim and her South Sudanese husband, Daniel Wani, who is in a wheelchair, arrive in New Hampshire, US (Reuters)
Related: Sudan: Condemned Christian woman and her family arrive at Rome (24 July 2014)