Meriam Ibrahim Arrives in Italy- Finally Free
By Kristin Wright, Director of Advocacy at Open Doors USA
Sheltered inside the US Embassy in Khartoum for the past month, and prevented from leaving Sudan, Meriam Ibrahim was wondering if she would actually be able to leave- right up until the moment her plane took off for Italy.
“While we were doing the final procedures she did not even know if she would be able to go,” said Italy’s deputy minister for foreign affairs, Lapo Pistelli, who flew to Sudan to get Meriam and her family late Wednesday night.
But today, Meriam and her family are free, and the Christian woman’s nearly year-long ordeal is finally over.
Open Doors USA supporters from around the world spoke out stronglyfor Meriam’s release and safe passage from Sudan. We’re so grateful for your actions and ongoing support for this courageous Christian woman.
Sentenced to death in Sudan for her faith, Meriam was imprisoned with her 20-month-old son, Martin, and gave birth to a daughter, Maya, on May 27, 2014, while chained in prison.
Open Doors supporters from around the world joined in speaking out for Meriam’s freedom throughout her imprisonment, and after her release continued with a campaign urging the US government to help her leave Sudan.
In Congress, Open Doors USA worked to garner broad support for H.RES.601, Condemning Meriam’s Death Sentence and Calling for Her Safe Haven in the US. We continually urged action on Meriam’s behalf, in order for her and her family to be allowed to leave Sudan and find safe haven in the United States.
On June 12, 2014, while Meriam was still in prison, Open Doors USA co-sponsored an event in front of the White House, calling for the administration to speak out for her release.
Within hours of the White House event, the U.S. State Department issued a statement on Meriam Ibrahim, calling for her release. Days later, on June 18, 2014, Meriam’s chains were reportedly removed and she was transported from her prison cell to a clinic.
On June 23, 2014, Meriam was released from prison. After she and her family were detained at the airport in Khartoum, she was freed once more, but remained unable to leave Sudan.
Intense diplomatic negotiations from the Italian government and the Vatican ultimately aided in bringing Meriam’s ordeal to an end.
On Thursday, Meriam met with Pope Francis briefly upon her arrival in Rome.
Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said that the meeting was “calm and affectionate” adding that the Pope wanted it to be a “gesture of support to all those who suffer for their faith, and living in difficult or restrictive situations.”
Meriam remains in Italy and is expected to fly to the United States soon.
Thank you for speaking out for Meriam and her family. Your voice was heard!