Meriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese woman sentenced to death for refusing to renounce her Christian faith and then spared after an international campaign, left Italy to fly to the United States, where she plans to build a new life. Ibrahim, who met Pope Francis on the first day of her weeklong stay in Rome, boarded a flight bound for Philadelphia with her husband, Daniel Wani, and their two young children. The 26-year-old and her family expected to join Wani’s brother, Gabriel, and his wife and three children in Manchester, N.H., where they run the nonprofit organization South Sudan Community of New Hampshire. Ibrahim was released after a nearly yearlong ordeal that spawned intense diplomatic efforts by the Italian government, American lawmakers and the Vatican. She was forced to give birth to her baby girl, Maya, while shackled in a prison cell in Khartoum in May. Antonella Napoli, president of Italians for Darfur, said Ibrahim hopes to write a book about her life. Sudanese authorities accused Ibrahim of apostasy and sentenced her to the death penalty for converting from Islam to Christianity. She insisted she never converted but was brought up a Christian, although her father, who left the family when she was very young, is a Muslim.
Immigration activists arrested at White House. The U.S. Park Police arrested more than 100 religious leaders and activists in a White House protest aimed at halting deportations and aiding immigrants living in the United States illegally. The direct action sponsored by Church World Service and Casa de Maryland, an immigration advocacy group, brought leaders from New England to Hawaii to the nation’s capital. The police completed the arrests of 112 people by mid-afternoon, charging each with “blocking passage” on the sidewalk outside the White House, a misdemeanor, said Sidney Traynham, a spokesman for Church World Service. Each went through a “post and forfeit” process, paying $50 in cash and forfeiting their right to a trial. By 5:15 p.m., all of the people arrested had been released from a processing center in the Anacostia neighborhood of Washington.