Christian woman escapes Sudan death

Last updated 09:48 02/08/2014
Mariam Yahya Ibrahim and Daniel Wani
Reuters
Mariam Yahya Ibrahim and her husband Daniel Wani are greeted by a cheering crowd of people as they arrive at the airport in Manchester, New Hampshire.

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The husband of a Sudanese woman who refused to recant her Christian faith in the face of a death sentence said the family is healthy but "very tired" and grateful for the global efforts to free his wife.

Meriam Ibrahim flew from Rome with her husband, Daniel Wani, and two children to Philadelphia and ultimately on to New Hampshire on Friday. Wani has family in Manchester, where they will make their new home.

In a statement issued through a spokesman, Wani thanked members of Congress, human rights organisations, diplomats and lawyers who helped free Ibrahim.

"Everyone is in good health but are very tired," Wani said.

The family is planning to address the media next week after taking the weekend to rest.

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. Muslim women in Sudan are prohibited from marrying non-Muslims, and children must follow their fathers' religions.

Sudan initially blocked Ibrahim from leaving the country even after its highest court overturned her death sentence in June. The family took refuge at the US Embassy in Khartoum.

Daniel Wani was granted US citizenship when he fled to the United States as a child to escape civil war, but he later returned and was a citizen of South Sudan.

Manchester, a city of 110,000 residents about 80kms north of Boston, has been a magnet for immigrants and refugees for decades. There are about 500 Sudanese living in the city.

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