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Asia Bibi leaves Pakistan

Asia Bibi at a prison near Lahore, Pakistan, in 2010 Associated Press (file)

Asia Bibi leaves Pakistan

Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian woman acquitted of blasphemy against Islam, has left the country for Canada, her lawyer said Wednesday. The Catholic mother spent eight years on death row for blasphemy after a 2009 incident with two Muslim women who worked on a farm with her and refused to drink water from the container she used. A Pakistani court sentenced her to death by hanging in 2010.

The Pakistani Supreme Court overturned her death sentence in October 2018 and upheld its ruling in February. Hard-line Islamists protested the decision and threatened to kill her, and she remained in a safe house after the ruling.

Bibi’s lawyer, Saif-ul Malook, said she arrived Tuesday in Ottawa, Canada, where her two daughters have lived since December.

“Asia Bibi is now free, and we wish her and her family all the best following their reunification,” the U.S. State Department said in a statement.

“She should never have been imprisoned in the first place, let alone endure the constant threats to her life,” Omar Waraich, the deputy South Asia director with Amnesty International, said. “This case horrifyingly illustrates the dangers of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws and the urgent need to repeal them.”

Onize Ohikere

Onize is WORLD’s Africa reporter. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate and earned a journalism degree from Minnesota State University–Moorhead. Onize resides in Abuja, Nigeria.



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