Tue, 23 Apr 2019

Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who was acquitted of blasphemy in Pakistan last week, has been freed from prison, her lawyer says.

'I have been told that she is on a plane, but nobody knows where she will land,' lawyer Saiful Mulook said on November 7 in a message sent to the AFP news agency.

The Associated Press quoted unidentified government officials as saying Bibi left a detention facility in Punjab Province, where she was detained, and was flown to an undisclosed location in the capital, Islamabad.

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's 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.

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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