Pakistan's Supreme Court upheld the acquittal of a Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy and ruled that she may now leave the country where she faces death threats.
Asia Bibi was previously on death row for eight years. After being acquitted last October, she can leave Pakistan and join her daughters who have fled to Canada, where they have been granted asylum.
The Supreme Court's ruling came after radical Islamic parties filed a last-minute appeal against the acquittal in the following days. Protests: The appeal sought to lift the verdict and send Bibi back to jail where she was to be executed for blasphemy ,
ASIA BIBI, CHRISTIAN WOMAN OF THE BLASPHEMIE REQUESTED The attorney Saiful Malook, who had to flee the country because of death threats, said the decision was a victory of the Pakistani constitution and the rule of law. The jury of the Supreme Court had "insisted on very strong evidence of blasphemy" and could not find one in the case, he said.
Pakistani Supreme Judge Asif Saeed Khan Khosa said Bibi prosecutors were convicted of marital sex. They were so sensitive that they were imprisoned for life. "The image of Islam that we show to the world causes me much grief and sorrow," Khosa said.
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Bibi, who is currently located, reportedly said in a hiding place that she would leave the country for Canada, where her daughters live.
"I am really grateful to all, now, after nine years, it is confirmed that I am free and will embrace my daughters," quoted a friend Bibi.
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Bibi was initially charged with insulting the Prophet of Islam in 2009 after a dispute broke out between her and other farm workers who refused like drinking Bibi because she was a Christian and they were Muslims.
A number of radical clerics were arrested following protests following their acquittal when they unleashed violence against Bibi.
The Tehreek-e-Labbaik Party led by Radical The cleric Khadim Hussain Rizvi said on Monday that he would not accept a decision in favor of the release of Bibi and asked his followers to prepare for further mass protests.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.