Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 June 2019

Asia Bibi: Christian woman acquitted of blasphemy leaves Pakistan for Canada

Asia Bibi spent eight years on death row

Asia Bibi, a mother of five, was reported in 2009 by women who alleged that she had insulted Islam during a discussion near a well in the province of Punjab and was sentenced to death in 2010. EPA
Asia Bibi, a mother of five, was reported in 2009 by women who alleged that she had insulted Islam during a discussion near a well in the province of Punjab and was sentenced to death in 2010. EPA

Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who was convicted and later acquitted of blasphemy, has left Pakistan, local media reported on Wednesday.

The Pakistani woman spent eight years on death row before being acquitted of the crime by the country's top court in January.

"I have inquired within available channels, and according to them she has left for Canada," Ms Bibi's lawyer, Saif Ul Malook said.

Pakistani TV channels Geo and ARY, citing unidentified sources, also reported Ms Bibi had left the country.

Ms Bibi's case and subsequent acquittal led to a furious debate in the country, becoming a point of national conversation.

It is not clear when Ms Bibi left the country.

Mrs Bibi's nightmare began as she harvested falsa berries on farmland outside the Punjab village of Ittan Wali in June 2009.

She rowed with two Muslim women co-workers after they refused to drink from a water vessel that she had used. They later complained to an imam that she had insulted the Prophet Mohammed and she was hauled before the village where the cleric alleged she confessed. She was put on trial and sentenced to death.

January's supreme court decision upheld an October ruling that had overturned her conviction, criticising an apparently forced confession and inconsistencies in witness statements. Mrs Bibi had always denied blasphemy.

Updated: May 8, 2019 11:12 AM

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