Budapest, Hungary, Sep 11, 2019 / 23:02 pm
A European Union official who played a role in working for the release of Pakistani death row inmate Asia Bibi said the outcome shows the potential of international cooperation to promote religious freedom.
Jan Figel is the EU Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion outside of Europe. In an interview with CNA, he praised Bibi as “an admirably brave woman and loving mother. She did not give up her Christian faith [in exchange for freedom], and she represents encouragement for many others facing false blasphemy accusations.”
Asia Bibi, a Catholic mother of five, was convicted of blasphemy in Pakistan in 2009 and sentenced to death by hanging. She was accused of making disparaging remarks about the prophet Muhammad after an argument about a cup of water. She was held on death row until October 2018 when her conviction was overturned.
After the acquittal, there were protests by Islamic hardliners, and Bibi remained in Pakistan under protective custody until May 2019. She is now in a secret location in Canada with her family.