Italy, France offer help to Aasia Bibi and family

November 7, 2018

AFP Photo

Italy is one of the several countries seeking to help Aasia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman who has spent eight years on death row for blasphemy, a rights group said on Wednesday.

Several governments have said they want to help Aasia Bibi and “we’ll have to see which government acts first,” Marta Petrosillo, spokeswoman for Aid to the Church in Need, which helps persecuted Christians worldwide, told AFP.

Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Salvini tweeted on Tuesday: “I will do everything humanly possible to guarantee this young woman’s future.”

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She is still in a prison a week after the Supreme Court overturned her conviction.

The religious groups took to the streets soon after the top court announced its verdict. The sit-ins across the country ended on November 2 after the government agreed to initiate legal proceedings to place Bibi’s name on the ECL.

Her husband Ashiq Masih has said the delay in releasing his wife, a mother of five, was adding to the family’s agony.

Italian Catholic association ACS said that Masih had specifically appealed to Italy for help to leave Pakistan.

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“We are very worried because our lives are in danger. We don’t even have anything left to eat because we can’t go out to do the shopping,” Masih said, according to an Italian translation of a video posted on the association’s website.

Masih has also appealed for Britain or the United States to grant the family asylum, while her lawyer has fled to the Netherlands.

France’s junior minister for Gender Equality Marlene Schiappa said on Wednesday she was looking at how to help Bibi “along with European and international partners”.