ISLAMABAD – A Christian woman acquitted from the Pakistani Supreme Court was flown eight days after she was sentenced to death for blasphemy on Wednesday for security reasons at a facility in the capital, Islamabad, two senior government officials said.
In a severe security situation, Asia Bibi left a detention center in Punjab province to fly to the capital, officials said. Troops guarded the roads that led to the airport from which they left, they said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity on Wednesday, as they were not authorized to speak with the media in the files.
The authorities said last month that they arrested two prisoners for allegedly conspiring to strangle them. Since then, additional police and troops have been transferred to the facility in Punjab. Officials said Bibi would be safer in the new facility in Islamabad.
Bibi's transfer comes one week after the Supreme Court acquitted Bibi in a landmark ruling and ordered that she be released. This sparked nationwide protests. The release of Bibi was suspended Friday after the authorities held talks with radical Islamists who want them to be publicly hanged.
The authorities now say that Bibi may not leave the country because a radical Islamic lawyer requesting the revocation of the acquittal has filed a petition for a review of the court's ruling. Pakistani courts usually take years to decide such cases.
Bibi was arrested in 2009 for insulting the Islamic Prophet and sentenced to death in 2010. Her family has always kept her innocence and says that she has never insulted the Prophet.
Blasphemy against Islam is being punished in Pakistan.
Tanveer reported from Multan, Pakistan.
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