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  HOME | World (Click here for more)

Pakistan Frees Christian Woman Acquitted of Blasphemy

ISLAMABAD – Christian woman Asia Bibi was released from prison on Wednesday, a week after the Supreme Court of Pakistan acquitted her of blasphemy, a crime for which she had been condemned to death.

“Asia is no longer in prison,” her lawyer, Saif Mulook, told EFE, adding that “she is on a plane, but nobody knows where it is going to land.”

A few hours before her release, the minister of information of Punjab province, Fayyaz ul Hassan Chohan, told EFE that the Christian woman remained in prison “for her safety.”

Last Wednesday, the Supreme Court overturned Bibi’s 2010 conviction and ordered her release.

Almost immediately after the court’s decision, protests led by the Islamist Tehreek-i-Labaik (TLP) party against Bibi’s acquittal paralyzed parts of the country for three days.

On Nov. 2, the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan reached an agreement with the TLP allowing the Islamists to request authorities to prevent Asia Bibi from leaving Pakistan while the Supreme Court analyzed an appeal against her acquittal.

Several nations have come forward with offers of asylum for Bibi.

Mulook left Pakistan on Saturday in fear for his life, alerting media outlets during a press conference in The Hague about the death threats received by his client.

Mulook said he fled to the Netherlands because he became the principal target of radical Islamists in Pakistan.

Pakistan’s harsh anti-blasphemy law was established during British colonial rule to avoid religious clashes, but several changes to the law in the 1980s promoted by dictator Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq led its abuse.

 

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