Pakistan, July 19th, 2009 – The Catholic farmer Aasiyah Naurin Bibi, better-known as Asia Bibi, was arrested for blasphemy against the Muslim prophet Mohammed. Sentenced to death a year later, her family brought an appeal to the High Court of Lahore. The death penalty was decided in 2014.

The absolution – In 2015, the Supreme Court suspended the execution and deferred the case. On October 31, 2018 the Court accepted the absolution request for Asia Bibi and ordered her release. However, she’s still in prison because the penitentiary has not received the documents for the release.

Asia Bibi (source: Ticino notizie)

Protests in Pakistan – Muslim extremist groups’ protests against Asia’s release have forced the government to momentarily keep her in prison “for security reasons.” The President Imran Khan has reached an agreement with the extremist movements, consisting of the prohibition of Asia to leave the country and the permission to ask the Supreme Court for a revision of the absolution sentence.

With Asia still in prison, husband Ashiq Mash and lawyer Saif ul-Malook have been forced to leave the country due to the many death threats they’ve received.

Imran Khan (source: Twitter)

The asylum petitions and the role of EU – Ashiq Mash has requested political asylum for himself and his wife in the US, UK, and Canada, while Amnesty International has started an petition for their asylum in Italy. On the 6th of November, the President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani invited Asia’s family to Europe for a meeting and expressed sympathy for her case. However, many international organizations and most of the governments across the world remain silent, not excluding the United Nations. The European Union is expected to mediate and find a compromise with the fundamentalists keeping Asia in prison and bringing chaos to Pakistan.

Antonio Tajani (source: ILMONITO)

Asia is running out of time. If the EU is truly a progressive organization, now is the time for Europe to welcome a woman persecuted by religious fanaticism in a country where the demands of the extremist majority seem to be more important than the legal protection of human rights.

Each passing second is one of suffering for Asia and one of guilty silence from the rest of the world. The battle for Asia’s freedom must not end

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