Asia Bibi to Seek Political Asylum in France
02/27/2020 Pakistan (International Christian Concern) – Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman acquitted of blasphemy charges in 2019, is seeking political asylum in France. This comes only nine months after Bibi and her family were allowed to leave Pakistan and seek asylum in Canada.
During an interview with RTL radio on February 24, Bibi revealed that she plans to ask French President Emmanuel Macron for political asylum in France when the two meet on February 28. “Obviously I would like the President to listen to my request,” Bibi told RTL radio. “My greatest desire is to live in France.”
In June 2009, Bibi was falsely accused of committing blasphemy by Muslim coworkers in Sheikhupura, Pakistan. According to local reports, Bibi’s Muslim coworkers became angry with her when she, a Christian whom they considered unclean, drank water from the same bowl as the Muslims.
In November 2010, Bibi was convicted of committing blasphemy and sentenced to death. She was the first woman in Pakistan’s history to be sentenced to death on blasphemy charges.
For the next eight years, Bibi remained on death row as her blasphemy conviction was appealed through Pakistan’s legal system. During this time, Bibi’s case became an international representative of the issue of blasphemy and the abuse of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.
In October 2018, Pakistan’s Supreme Court acquitted Bibi. The court explained that there was not enough evidence to convict Bibi. In May 2019, Bibi and her family were allowed to leave Pakistan and seek asylum in Canada.
The abuse of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws remains a major issue for the country’s Christian community. According to many human rights activists, the blasphemy laws are widely abused with false allegations being used to settle personal scores or incite religious violence. While Bibi and her family may now be safe from the blasphemy allegations that put their lives on hold for nearly a decade, hundreds of other individuals remain imprisoned in Pakistan under similar blasphemy charges.
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