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Meriam Ibrahim, the 26-year Sudanese woman who was sentenced to death by Muslim authorities for marrying a Christian man has been release and arrived safely in Rome and met with Pope Francis at the Vatican. Meriam was accompanied by her husband, Daniel Wani, and their two young children, Martin, 18 months old, and Maya, born in prison two months ago.

According to a Vatican Press Release:

Meriam Ibrahim was sentenced to death over charges of apostasy, since her father was a Muslim. She married her husband, a Christian, in a church ceremony in 2011. She was told if she accepted Islam she would be freed, but she told the court she would never apostatize from her Christian faith. Her death sentence was overturned in June, but she was then stopped at the airport and blocked from leaving the country by Sudanese officials who questioned the validity of her travel documents.

The head of the Vatican Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi, SJ, said the meeting took place in a “very serene and affectionate” environment, and Pope Francis thanked Meriam for her “courageous witness to perseverance in the Faith.”

Fr. Lombardi said Pope Francis met with Meriam’s family to show” his closeness, concern and prayers” for all those who suffer for their faith, and especially for Christians who suffer persecution or restrictions on their religious freedom.

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