When Asia Bibi’s conviction for blasphemy was overturned last month, thousands of extremists stormed the streets of Pakistan. Blasphemy is a capital crime in that country, and the protesters wanted her dead.
Now Bibi has reportedly been released, and the extremists are rioting again.
Bibi, a Christian, was accused of blasphemy in 2009 after allegedly arguing with a group of Muslim women who claimed that she made derogatory remarks about their religion and their god – charges Bibi denied from the beginning. According to Deutsche Welle, such accusations are often used as vengeance in handling petty disputes. She was sentenced to death a year later.
The Washington Post reports Bibi’s release has been confirmed by Pakistani officials. It is not clear where Bibi is at the moment. But Pir Afzal Qadri, a leader of the protesting group, claimed in a video that the government assured him “that she is in the custody of law enforcement agencies . . . and has not been flown out of the country,”.
Foreign media speculation, however, has her en route to Europe – and probably to the Netherlands, where, according to CNN, she has already filed for asylum. Her lawyer, Saif ul-Malook, fled to Holland earlier this week after also receiving death threats in Pakistan in the wake of Bibi’s acquittal.