Asia Bibi, Christian woman in blasphemy row, leaves Pakistan

Wednesday May 8 2019

Pakistani Christian woman Asia Bibi.

This file handout photograph taken on November 20, 2010 and released by the Directorate General Public Relations Punjab shows Pakistani Christian woman Asia Bibi as she appealed her death sentence for blasphemy charges at the Central Jail in Sheikhupura. PHOTO | DGPR PUNJAB | AFP 

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Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman who spent eight years on death row after being found guilty of blasphemy has arrived in Canada, the New York Times reported, quoting her lawyer Saiful Malook.

According to AFP, her daughters are believed to have already fled to Canada.

Asia, a former farm worker, has been at the centre of a decade-long blasphemy row after she was accused of speaking against the Prophet Muhammad. She denied the accusations.

Asia's case drew worldwide attention when she was sentenced to death in 2010, but she was cleared of the charges last year and released from prison. She was put in protective custody as her release led to calls for her execution, mass sit-ins and violent protests from hard-line Islamists.

Many blasphemy cases in Pakistan see Muslims accusing Muslims, but rights activists have warned that religious minorities – particularly Christians – are often caught in the crossfire, with such accusations used to settle personal scores, AFP reported.