This Pakistani Christian was sentenced to death in 2010 for blasphemy before being acquitted last week. However, she remains incarcerated because of an agreement between the government and radical Islamists.
Sentenced to death then acquitted but still imprisoned. The fate of Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian born in 1971, remains uncertain. She was sentenced to death in 2010 for blasphemy for making disparaging remarks about Islam when neighbors refused to drink water in their glass because she was not Muslim. The accused, who has always denied blasphemy, was acquitted on 31 October by the Supreme Court of Pakistan. This decision provoked the fury of Islamists, who blocked the main axes of the country for three days. The demonstrations only came to an end after the signing of a controversial deal with the protesters late last week. The government has pledged to initiate a procedure to ban Asia Bibi from leaving the country and not to block a petition to review the acquittal judgment. Since then, the fate of this Christian agricultural worker has crystallized the international community. Republican President Laurent Wauquiez and the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, asked Monday in separate messages to the French authorities to intervene to "save the life" of Asia Bibi.
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In a message published Monday night on social networks addressed to the head of state, the president of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region said that "today, a woman needs France." "The word of France can not remain silent," he urged. "France must put pressure on the Pakistani government to release Asia Bibi and allow her family to leave Pakistan, where her life is in danger," he said, adding that " It is the honor of the President of the Republic and France to offer protection at times like these. " "The same goes for a woman's life, but so does our conception of civilization in the face of Islamist barbarism," the LR boss also said.
For its part, the socialist edict said she was "ready" to welcome him to the capital, of which she has been a citizen of honor since 2014. "The acquittal of Asia Bibi by the Supreme Court of Pakistan was a a real relief for all those who, like me, had given him support and had called for his release in recent years, "the socialist mayor told AFP on the sidelines of a trip to Lille, where she was attending to the General Assembly of Francophone Mayors.
"But her situation remains particularly precarious, as she is still imprisoned and she and her family are subject to numerous death threats," she added. "France has a duty to help her and her family by intervening with Pakistan to allow her to take refuge in another country, where she will be safe and where she will be able to practice. Christian religion in all freedom, "asked Anne Hidalgo. "It's urgent. If France and the international community do not mobilize voluntarily, we can fear the worst for Asia Bibi. Do not wait for a tragedy to happen. It is now necessary to act, "she continued.
Asia Bibi's husband seeks asylum for his family
This weekend, Asia Bibi's husband had claimed asylum for his family in the United States, Great Britain or Canada. "I ask President Donald Trump to help us leave. After that, I ask the British Prime Minister (Theresa May) to do her best to help us, "said Ashiq Masih in a video message. Asia Bibi's husband also sought the "help" of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
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"These countries have the largest communities of Pakistani Christians" and English is spoken there, a language that Asia Bibi's daughters learn, but she and her husband do not speak, Wilson said. Chowdhry, the president of the Pakistan Christian Association of Great Britain, who has been helping Asia Bibi and his family for years. In the video, Ashiq Masih also claims asylum for Joseph Nadeem, who has been sheltering his family since the death sentence of his wife for blasphemy in 2010.
"If Asia Bibi leaves the country, every member of her family, every person associated with her, will be killed," worried Wilson Chowdhry, who estimates that "fewer than twenty" the number of people seeking asylum in this country. case. On Saturday, Ashiq Masih asked the authorities to "strengthen the security" of his wife "in prison", criticizing the agreement signed by the government.
Asia Bibi's lawyer has left Pakistan
On the same day, Asia Bibi's lawyer, Saif-ul-Mulook, said he had left Pakistan "against his will," with the UN and the European Union (EU) fearing for his safety from the threats of radical Islamists. At a press conference on Monday, Saif-ul-Mulook said he contacted a UN official in Islamabad after the historic acquittal of Asia Bibi by the Supreme Court provoked the fury of extremist Muslim circles.
SEE ALSO – Asia Bibi's lawyer fled to the Netherlands "against his will"
Asia Bibi's lawyer fled to the Netherlands "against his will" – Watch on Figaro Live
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"They (the UN) and the ambassadors of the European nations in Islamabad kept me for three days and then put me on a plane against my will," said the lawyer, who left Pakistan on Saturday. now in the Netherlands. "I told them that I would not leave the country until Asia came out of prison," he insisted. "I'm not happy to be here without her, but everyone said," No, you're the main target for the moment and the whole world is taking care of Asia Bibi ". "They thought my life was in imminent danger. For three days, they did not let me open the door, "added the lawyer.