Mariam Ibrahim, the Sudanese woman sentenced to hang and forced to give birth in jail, says her story represents the ordeals of “many” Christians in Islamic countries forced to live under Sharia.

In a rare public appearance since she was helped to travel to the US two years ago, she told a congregation in Washington DC last Saturday: “My story did not start when I was sentenced or when I was in prison.

“It is the story of many men and women who are Christians in Islamic countries and end up being sentenced to death, beheaded, [or receive] 100 lashes for adultery.”

Ibrahim, 29, who now lives in Virginia, was speaking at a night of prayer for the Christians living under pressure for their faith, organised by the US charity One Body, The Christian Post reported.

She was found guilty of apostasy in May 2014, gave birth to her second child in jail and was released the next month following an international outcry. Her ordeal had lasted 18 months.

She was then enabled through major diplomatic efforts to travel to the US, where her Sudanese-born husband Daniel had citizenship.

Ibrahim had been sentenced in a Sharia court for apostasy after marrying a Christian man, but she insisted she had been raised a Christian. She said in 2014 that her daughter was born disabled because the prison guards refused to unshackle her ankles when she was giving birth.