Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian woman who spent years on death row after being accused of blasphemy, has safely arrived in Canada.
Bibi, a mother of five, was convicted in 2010 and sentenced to hang after a neighbour accused her of insulting Muhammad during an argument in 2009.
The disagreement came as Bibi and her neighbours were gathering fruit. The neighbours accused Bibi of using a cup and rendering it “unclean” according to their Islamic faith.
After telling Bibi that she should convert to Islam, the women claim Bibi responded by making an offensive remark about Muhammad.
According to reports, Bibi allegedly confessed to her “crime”, but only after a mob turned up on her doorstep and beat the admission out of her.
After eight years on death row, Bibi won her appeal and her conviction and sentencing were overturned.
The Supreme Court acknowledged the circumstances of the confession and acquitted Bibi, saying her admission was unreliable because it was delivered to a mob “threatening to kill her.”
The decision sparked widespread protests throughout Pakistan. Large groups of Muslim men determined to see Bibi executed for her “crime” took to the streets enraged, destroying public property and burning cars.
Fearing for their lives, Bibi’s husband appealed for asylum in the UK, US and Canada. However, according to Wilson Chowdhry, chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, the British Government denied Bibi’s request out of concern it would upset British Muslims and provoke attacks on its embassies.
“I’ve been led to believe that the UK Government had concerns that her moving to the UK would cause security concerns and unrest among certain sections of the community and would also be a security threat to British embassies abroad which might be targeted by Islamic terrorists,” he told the Huffington Post.
Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, however, accepted Bibi and her family’s request for asylum.
Bibi has since flown to Canada and has been reunited with her family. “It’s a big day,” Bibi’s lawyer, Saiful Malook told the Guardian. “Asia Bibi has left Pakistan and reached Canada. She has reunited with her family. Justice has been dispensed.”