Sudanese Christian Woman Meriam Ibrahim Pope Francis
Meriam Ibrahim and her family meet Pope Francis at the Vatican.YouTube/CatholicNewsService

A Christian woman who was jailed in Sudan because of her faith has been received by Pope Francis at the Vatican.

Meriam Ibrahim arrived in Italy after more than a month in the US embassy in Karthoum, where she took shelter after incurring the wrath of the Sudanese authorities, which first jailed her for apostasy and then accused the mother-of-two of forging documents to flee the country.

Pope Francis met Ibrahim, 27, privately at the Holy See and "thanked her for her faith and courage," Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi said.

In turn, Ibrahim thanked the pontiff for his prayer and solidarity during the 30-minute encounter, Lombardi said.

She was accompanied by her husband, Daniel Wani, and children Martin, 1, and Maya, who is only a few weeks old.

Ibrahim was pregnant when a Sudanese court sentenced her to death by hanging and 100 lashes under the country's strict Sharia laws, and gave birth while in chains.

Born to a Christian mother and a Muslim father, Ibrahim was convicted in 2011 after she married Daniel Wani, a Christian.

In Sudan interfaith marriage is forbidden and, according to Islamic law, children inherit the father's religion while the mother's line is considered irrelevant.

Ibrahim claimed she was raised a Christian and refused to renounce her faith. She was subsequently accused of renouncing Islam, an offence which carries a capital sentence in Sudan. Her marriage to Wani was also deemed invalid and their union consequently adulterous, adding 100 lashes to the sentence.

Her case sparked global outrage with the British government calling on Sudan to release her. She was released in June but rearrested shortly afterwards at the airport.

Agents of the Sudan National Intelligence and Security Service claimed the passport and American visa she was travelling with were invalid.

She was finally set free a day later and took refuge inside the US embassy. An Italian government plane flew her to Rome's Ciampino airport where she arrived, accompanied by an Italian diplomat who helped secure her release.

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi greeted Ibrahim on her arrival saying: "We are happy, this is a day of celebration".