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Sudan 'apostasy' woman arrives in US

Mariam Ibrahim, who refused to recant her Christian faith in face of death sentence, now in New Hampshire with family.

Last updated: 01 Aug 2014 03:51
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Ibrahim married Wani, a Christian from southern Sudan, in 2011

A Sudanese woman who refused to recant her Christian faith in the face of a death sentence has arrived in the US, where she was welcomed first by the mayor of Philadelphia as a "world freedom fighter," and later by cheering supporters in New Hampshire.

Mariam Ibrahim flew from Rome, where she had met Pope Francis, to Philadelphia with her husband and two children, en route to Manchester, New Hampshire, where her husband has family and where they will make their new home.

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, smiled and waved to the crowd of about three dozen supporters, but she did not speak publicly, the Reuters news agency reported.

Ibrahim had been sentenced to death over charges of apostasy, the abandonment of a religion. Her father was Muslim, and her mother was an Orthodox Christian.

She married Wani, a Christian from southern Sudan, in 2011. By law, children must follow their fathers' religions.

Sudan initially blocked Ibrahim from leaving the country despite its highest court overturning her death sentence in June.

The family took refuge at the US embassy in Khartoum.

There are about 500 Sudanese living in Manchester, a city of 110,000 residents north of Boston, the AP news agency reported.

Wani, who previously lived in New Hampshire, had been granted US citizenship when he fled to the country as a child to escape civil war, but he later returned and was a citizen of South Sudan.

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