The Sudanese mother who was sentenced to death for refusing to renounce her Christian faith safety arrived Thursday night in the United States.
Her husband, U.S. citizen Daniel Wani, cried tears of joy, according to a report in the New Hampshire Union Leader.
“Thank you so much,” Wani, a resident of Manchester, N.H., told reporters. “I am so relieved.”
Meriam Ibrahim Ishag, who like her husband is a native of Sudan, had been charged with and convicted of adultery and apostasy for marrying a Christian and refusing to convert to Islam.
According to media accounts, her Muslim father abandoned his family when she was 6. Raised by her Orthodox Christian mother, she went to college, graduated from medical school, and in 2011 married Wani, also a Christian.
After her brother lodged a complaint against her on the grounds that her marriage to a non-Muslim isn’t valid, a Sudanese court sentenced her to 100 lashes and death by hanging after giving birth. Ishag’s 2-year-old son, Martin, joined her in prison, where she gave birth to daughter Maya in late May.
Ishag, a physician, did not speak to reporters immediately upon arriving in the U.S.
Sudanese officials allowed her to leave that country last week. The family flew from Rome, where Ishag was blessed by Pope Francis at the Vatican, to Philadelphia, where Mayor Michael Nutter called her a “world freedom fighter.” Then it was on to the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, where well-wishers waving American flags greeted ishag and her family.
Her brother-in-law, Gabriel Wani, told reporters that the family is ready to “relax.” He said Ishag was being offered asylum in the U.S. and was to meet soon with State Department officials.
Ishag’s final stop was Manchester, the area where her husband lives and works and they plan on making their new home together.