Asia Bibi: Protests delay release of Christian woman accused of blasphemy in Pakistan

Nov 3, 2018 by

By Lucia Binding, Sky News:

Radical Islamists want Ms Bibi publicly hanged, while one cleric urges his supporters to kill the three judges who acquitted her.

The release of a Pakistani Christian woman who was acquitted eight years after being sentenced to death for blasphemy has been delayed.

Asia Bibi was convicted in 2010 after being accused of insulting Islam’s Prophet Muhammad in a dispute with her neighbours.

The mother-of-three, 47, has always maintained her innocence – but has spent the majority of the past eight years in solitary confinement.

Her release was delayed following protests by radical Islamists, who want her publicly hanged, and failed talks between them and the government.

A lawyer representing a local cleric who had raised the initial blasphemy charges against Ms Bibi petitioned the supreme court on Thursday to reverse its acquittal.

Her husband, Ashiq Masih, returned from Britain with their children in mid-October and was waiting for her release so they could leave Pakistan.

France and Spain have offered her asylum, while the former bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali, who is a Christian born in Pakistan, said Ms Bibi should be granted asylum in the UK.

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