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Conflicting Stories on Asia Bibi’s Release

ICC Note

Pakistan’s officials are saying that Asia Bibi is innocent and could be pardoned. But they deny the report that she has been released.

Washington, D.C. (November 24, 2010)–International Christian Concern (ICC) issued a press release on November 22 entitled “Pakistan Releases Christian Woman Sentenced to Death For Blasphemy.” Since the issuance of the press release, we have received conflicting stories about Asia Bibi.

Some of our sources still insist that Asia has been released. However, Pakistani officials denied that they have released Bibi. The officials have publicly spoken about her possible pardon. Pakistan’s Minister for Minority Affairs, Shahbaz Bhatti, said that Bibi is innocent.

In a statement to CNN, the governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer, indicated that Bibi would be pardoned by the president of Pakistan. Asia still awaits the outcome of her plea for mercy to the High Court.

Farhatullah Babar, spokesperson for Pakistan’s president, also told CNN that “Asia cannot be executed now. Under the law, a death sentence issued by a session court cannot be carried out until it has been endorsed by the high court.”

There has already been backlash against Bibi’s possible release. According to the Associated Press, close to 250 hard-line Muslims held a demonstration in Lahore today warning the president not to pardon Bibi.

We are closely monitoring Bibi’s situation and will update you once we obtain new information.