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Not Safe Yet: Pakistan's Supreme Court Reconsiders Decision to Free Asia Bibi

01-28-2019

Pakistan's Supreme Court will re-examine its decision to acquit Asia Bibi on all blasphemy charges Tuesday after Islamic extremists pressured the government to execute her immediately. 

Bibi, a Christian woman who sat on death row for nearly a decade for allegedly offending Islam, was acquitted of all charges in October. The court found no evidence to support the accusations against her.

Bibi has been in hiding ever since the Supreme Court freed her, afraid that angry radical Muslims, who rioted after hearing the news of her acquittal, would murder her. 

Reuters reports a three-judge panel, including new Supreme Court Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, will reconsider her case on Tuesday. 

Her lawyer, Saiful Malook, is confident the Supreme Court will stand by its decision to free her.

"They have filed the petition on flimsy grounds," he told Reuters. "They haven't attempted to counter her release on constitutional grounds."

Malook, who fled to Europe out of fear for his life, returned to Pakistan this week to represent Bibi in court.

"God willing, she will have the decision in her favor tomorrow. She will be a free person to go anywhere she wants to," he said.

International groups are calling on Western countries to grant Bibi asylum. 

Her case was raised before the UK parliament several times but has been rejected. 

The Daily Mail reports UK Prime Minister Theresa May personally blocked the granting of asylum to Bibi, even overruling British Home Secretary Sajid Javid, who has said that Bibi should be given refuge in the UK.

May was reportedly convinced that by granting Bibi refuge, she would inflame tensions among British Muslims and could even provide a stimulus for attacks on UK embassies around the world.

Bibi's husband, Ashiq Masih, begged May to grant asylum for his wife and family in the UK.  

"I am requesting the prime minister of Britain to help us exit Pakistan and give us asylum if she can," he said, according to The Guardian.

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