(Pope Francis blesses Mariam Yahya Ibrahim of Sudan and her baby during a private meeting at the Vatican July 24, 2014. The Sudanese woman, who was spared a death sentence for converting from Islam to Christianity and then barred from leaving Sudan, flew into Rome on Thursday.  REUTERS/Osservatore Romano)

(Pope Francis blesses Mariam Yahya Ibrahim of Sudan and her baby during a private meeting at the Vatican July 24, 2014. REUTERS/Osservatore Romano)

A Sudanese woman who was sentenced to death for converting from Islam to Christianity, then detained after her conviction was quashed, flew into Rome on an Italian government plane on Thursday and hours later met the Pope.

Mariam Yahya Ibrahim, whose sentence and detention triggered international outrage, walked off the aircraft cradling her baby and was greeted by Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi.

Soon afterwards, Ibrahim, her husband and two children had a private meeting with Pope Francis in the Vatican. “The Pope thanked her for her witness to faith,” Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said.

The meeting, which lasted around half an hour, was intended as a “sign of closeness and solidarity for all those who suffer for their faith,” he added.