Asia Bibi, a former farmworker who had her blasphemy conviction overturned by Pakistan’s Supreme Court in October, is officially free from further prosecution after the high court dismissed a challenge of the decision to acquit her. In wake of her acquittal, far-right religious groups had engaged in mass-protests and issued threats of violence — prompting Bibi to issue a global call for asylum. According to activists, Tuesday’s decision to dismiss finally officially opened the door to Bibi leaving the country, as she had been legally barred from doing so until after the challenge to the Supreme Court ruling was resolved.
In 2009, Bibi, a Christian mother of four, was accused of blasphemy after fellow farmworkers said she contaminated a communal water cup by drinking from it, alleging that her faith made it unclean for Muslims to drink from. She was later beaten by a mob and sentenced to death in 2010 for allegedly insulting the Prophet Muhammad. Lower-court judges had upheld the ruling — apparently out of fear of retaliation by religious extremists. Bibi would spend 8 years on death row before the Supreme Court freed her in a ruling that declared the accusations against her were clearly “nothing short of concoction incarnate.”
It is not clear where or when Bibi will flee — reports have suggested the U.K. declined to offer her asylum out of concern “about potential unrest in the country, attacks on embassies and civilians.” According to Wilson Chowdhry of the British Pakistani Christian Association, Bibi, her husband and two daughters are currently hoping to find refuge in the Netherlands.
Read the full story at BBC News.