Sat, 27 Apr 2019

Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who was acquitted of blasphemy in Pakistan last week, has been freed from prison and transferred to a 'safe place,' according to her lawyer and the president of the European Parliament.

'I thank the Pakistani authorities. I look forward meeting her and her family, in the European Parliament as soon as possible,' the parliament's President Antonio Tajani tweeted on November 7.

The BBC quoted Bibi's lawyer, Saiful Mulook, as saying Bibi was being flown out of Pakistan with her immediate family but he did not know where they were going.

Unidentified security officials said Bibi was released from a prison in Multan, a city in southern Punjab Province, and was flown to an undisclosed location in Islamabad for fear of attacks on her, according to the Associated Press and Reuters.

SEE ALSO: Pakistani Islamists To End Protests After Deal With Government

Bibi had spent eight years on death row for allegedly insulting Islam's Prophet Muhammad before Pakistan's Supreme Court overturned her conviction on October 31, triggering violent protests by hard-line Islamists calling for her execution.

In a deal with the hard-line Tehrik-e Labaik (TLP) party that ended the protests, the Pakistani government on November 3 indicated that it will bar Bibi from traveling abroad pending a 'review' of the Supreme Court's decision to acquit her.

Bibi, a mother of five, has denied the blasphemy charges against her.

Her husband, Ashiq Masih, has pleaded for asylum from Western countries, saying his family is in great danger in Pakistan.

Mulook, her lawyer, fled to The Netherlands.

Bibi, a mother of five, has denied the blasphemy charges against her.

On November 6, Italian officials said they were working to help relocate Bibi to a country where she and her family would be safe from death threats.

'We are working with other Western countries. We must do it discreetly and carefully,' Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini told an Italian radio station.

Insulting Islam is punishable by death in Pakistan, and the mere rumor of blasphemy can lead to lynchings by mobs.

Based on reporting by AFP and AP

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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