Asia Bibi Released from Prison but Remains in Pakistan

11/08/2018 Pakistan (International Christian Concern) – Multiple reports have claimed that Asia Bibi, a Christian woman formally convicted of blasphemy, has been released from prison in Pakistan. Initially, reports claimed that Bibi and her family left Pakistan, but the Pakistani government later confirmed that Bibi remains in the country.

On October 31, Bibi was acquitted by Pakistan’s Supreme Court and had her death sentence rendered null and void. The announcement of this decision led to widespread protests by Pakistan’s hardliners who demanded the decision be reversed and Bibi be hanged.

Last Friday, after three days of protest, Pakistan’s government made a deal with the hardliners agreeing not to oppose a petition to review the Supreme Court’s decision and another petition to place Bibi on the “no exit list”, effectively barring Bibi from fleeing Pakistan.

In 2009, Bibi was accused of committing blasphemy after having an argument with Muslim coworkers. In 2010, the Sessions Court in Sheikhupura found Bibi guilty on flimsy evidence and sentenced her to death under Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws.

Many observers of Pakistan have criticized the country’s blasphemy laws. These observers claim that the laws are widely abused and are most often used to settle personal scores or incite religious hatred. Religious minorities in Pakistan, including Christians, are disproportionately accused and convicted under the blasphemy laws, which has led many to call for the laws to be removed or reformed.

For interviews with William Stark, ICC’s Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: press@persecution.org.

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