Pope Francis met privately on Thursday with Meriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese Christian woman who faced a death sentence for refusing to renounce her faith, blessing the woman after she was flown to Italy on an Italian government jet.
Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag flew to Rome with her family after more than a month in the US embassy in Khartoum.
There was global condemnation when she was sentenced to hang for apostasy by a Sudanese court.
Mrs Ibrahim’s father is Muslim so according to Sudan’s version of Islamic law she is also Muslim and cannot convert.
She was raised by her Christian mother and says she has never been Muslim.
Welcoming her at the airport, Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said: “Today is a day of celebration.”
“But her life is in danger so she feels she has to leave. Just two days ago a group called Hamza made a statement that they would kill her and everyone who helps her,” he added.
Mrs Ibrahim’s husband, Daniel Wani, also a Christian, is from South Sudan and has US nationality.
Their daughter Maya was born in prison in May, shortly after Mrs Ibrahim was sentenced to hang for apostasy – renouncing one’s faith.
Under intense international pressure, her conviction was quashed and she was freed in June.
She was given South Sudanese travel documents but was arrested at Khartoum airport, with Sudanese officials saying the travel documents were fake.
These new charges meant she was not allowed to leave the country but she was released into the custody of the US embassy in Khartoum.
Last week, her father’s family filed a lawsuit trying to have her marriage annulled, on the basis that a Muslim woman is not allowed to marry a non-Muslim.
Adopted from BBC