The acquittal of a Pakistani Catholic woman sentenced to hang for blasphemy is to be challenged in the country’s Supreme Court, according to her husband. Source: Catholic Herald.
Three judges of the court ordered last week that the death sentence against Asia Bibi, a mother of five, was to be set aside and she was to be released from prison, where she has spent eight years in solitary confinement.
But her husband, Ashiq Masih, confirmed in an interview with BBC World Service that the court had since agreed to accept a review petition questioning the legitimacy of her acquittal.
The challenge to Ms Bibi’s freedom has been made by Tehreek-e-Labbaaik, an extremist group which is also putting pressure on the government to try to stop Ms Bibi from leaving Pakistan, even if her acquittal is upheld.
In his interview, Mr Ashiq told the BBC that he was “hopeful” and “confident” that the Supreme Court in Lahore would dismiss the appeal.
“I really hope it will not take very much time – two to four days – and this matter could be disposed of by the government and the Supreme Court,” he said.
Mr Ashiq said neither he nor his family have seen Ms Bibi, 55, who has remained in protective custody since she acquitted.
“I haven’t been able to see her, I haven’t been able to meet her yet,” said Mr Ashiq, adding that the family was “really worried” about her safety.
He said the family was desperate to find asylum in Europe or North America as soon as possible because they believed their lives were in danger.
He said: “We are so restricted our mobility is virtually zero. We cannot go out anywhere. Even for basic things, we have to rely on other people.
“I have never been so afraid as I am now for my family,” he added. “My life and the life of my family is really under threat. Since the verdict has come out, we haven’t been provided with any security.”
Following Ms Bibi’s acquittal, Saiful Malook, her lawyer, fled Pakistan amid death threats to his family.
Asia Bibi’s acquittal challenged in Pakistan Supreme Court (Catholic Herald)