ASIA BIBI – NATIONWIDE PROTEST CALL AFTER FRIDAY PRAYERS
In Pakistan, Islamists have called for nationwide protests after Friday prayers, following the acquittal of Asia Bibi on blasphemy charges.
The Supreme Court threw out all blasphemy charges against the Christian mother of five on Oct 31. The imam who brought the original charges has now petitioned the Supreme Court to review its decision.
Since then, protestors have barricaded roads, set fire to vehicles and called for Asia to be publicly hanged. They’ve also called for Muslim army generals to mutiny and overthrow their government.
Asia’s brother, James, has told the Associated Press that his sister is in danger in Pakistan. ‘She has no other option and will leave the country soon,’ he said. It’s been reported that Germany, France and Spain have offered her asylum.
Press reports say the police are questioning two inmates at Asia’s prison over a plot to strangle her. Yesterday, 1,000 militants blocked a highway to the capital, Islamabad, and the authorities declared a limited state of emergency in three areas.
According to Al Jazeera, 74 people have been killed in violence related to blasphemy allegations since 1990.
Release International has long campaigned for the repeal of the blasphemy laws, which are a touchstone for mob violence and an excuse for persecution. A disproportionate number of Christians are accused of blasphemy.
Release International is calling for prayer for Asia, her lawyer and Pakistan’s Christian minority, who have been warned to prepare for reprisals.