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Opinion

Meriam Ibrahim is finally out of Sudan

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Barack Obama,Ashe Schow,Africa,Religion,Sudan,Meriam Ibrahim

Meriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese mother of two sentenced to death for leaving Islam, has left Sudan, according to the BBC.

Ibrahim and her family arrived in Italy early Thursday morning, where Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi -- who arranged the flight -- greeted them.

“Today is a day of celebration,” Renzi said.

Ibrahim has also met Pope Francis during her brief time in Rome.

"The Pope thanked her for her witness to faith," Father Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman, said.

Ibrahim and her family had been living in the U.S. embassy in Sudan following her release from prison last month, fearing for their lives.

Ibrahim was arrested in February for apostasy -- the crime of leaving Islam. For that she was sentenced to hang, even though she was raised Christian and never practiced Islam.

On June 23, she was released from prison after an appeals court overturned her sentence. Shortly after, she was rearrested as she and her family tried to leave Sudan. That's when the family took refuge in the U.S. embassy.

Ibrahim’s story is not over. Though she is finally out of Sudan, she still needs to get to America. Her husband, Daniel Wani, is a U.S. citizen who lives in New Hampshire.

Ibrahim's story drew international attention, but there are others who still need help. Kenneth Bae is still imprisoned in North Korea. Pastor Saeed Abedini is still trapped in an Iranian prison. Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi is still being held in a Mexican prison. And there are others.

President Obama didn't publicly call for Ibrahim's release, as Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and British Prime Minister David Cameron did.

Perhaps the lesson here — as upsetting as it may be — is that the U.S. can’t free its own citizens without serious help from the international community.

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