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Christian woman who was spared death sentence in Sudan arrives in Rome

27-year-old Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag was sentenced to death in May for converting from Islam.

Lapo Pistelli/Facebook

A SUDANESE WOMAN who was spared a death sentence for converting from Islam and who was then barred from leaving the African country has arrived in Italy after spending over a month in the US embassy in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, the BBC reports.

27-year-old Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag was sentenced to death in May for apostasy from Islam, under Islamic sharia law that has been in force in Sudan since 1983 and outlaws conversions on pain of death.

An appeals court later quashed the verdict and sentence.

Her case has raised questions of religious freedom and sparked deep concern among Western governments and human rights activists.

Ishag was born to a Muslim father who abandoned the family, leaving her to be raised by her Ethiopian Orthodox Christian mother, according to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Khartoum, which said she joined the Catholic church shortly before she married.

According to the Reuters report on her arrival in Italy, there are no clear details at the moment on what led up to her departure from Khartoum.

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There’s been no comment from the Sudanese authorities as yet either.

Lapo Pistelli, Italy’s vice-minister for foreign Affairs, posted the above photo of himself with Ishag and her children on his Facebook as they were descending into Rome.

Includes reporting from AFP.

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Daragh Brophy

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