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Persecuted Catholic Asia Bibi arrives in Canada

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By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)
5/10/2019 (5 months ago)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)

Bibi arrived on Wednesday after years on death row.

Pakistani Catholic Asia Bibi, who spent most of a decade on death row accused of blasphemy, has arrived in Canada. Canada has granted Bibi and her family asylum.

Asia Bibi spent more than 8 years on death row, falsely accused of blasphemy because of her Catholic faith.

Asia Bibi spent more than 8 years on death row, falsely accused of blasphemy because of her Catholic faith.

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
5/10/2019 (5 months ago)

Published in Asia Pacific

Keywords: Asia Bibi, Catholic, Canada, asylum


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Asia Bibi has arrived in Canada after spending nearly a decade on Pakistan's death row for blasphemy. Asia Bibi is Catholic.

In 2009, Bibi was harvesting berries when she got into an argument with coworkers. A coworker accused her of blasphemy, a crime punishable by death in Pakistan. Bibi was convicted in 2010 and sentenced to death by hanging. The conviction sparked international outrage. 

Both Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis made appeals for her release, but to little avail. Her death sentence was upheld on appeal. 

The case eventually reached Supreme Court of Pakistan which acquitted Bibi. 

Although spared the noose, the acquittal resulted in domestic protests as some called for her to be lynched. She was released on November 7, 2018, but on November 8, the government of Pakistan barred Bibi from leaving the country. The restriction was made to appease hard-line groups calling for her death. Her release from custody was challenged in the courts with the intention of having her arrested and put to death again. 

Bibi was returned to custody within weeks, likely to protect her from vigilantes. 

In early 2019, the courts rejected the request that she be returned to prison and following a period of political dispute, the government permitted her to leave the country. Bibi departed on May 7 and arrived in Canada on May 8. Canada has granted Bibi and her family asylum. 

Bibi spent more than eight years in solitary confinement, facing death, having committed no offense. 

The Christian world is grateful for justice and for Asia Bibi's silent witness to Christ. 

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