She spent years in solitary confinement.
By Amardeep Bassey, HuffPost UK
Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who spent eight years on death row in Pakistan for blasphemy, is expected to soon arrive in Canada after accepting an offer of asylum, says a source close to her family.
The news comes as Pakistan’s top court rejected a challenge to the acquittal of the mother-of-five on blasphemy charges, after she was accused of insulting the Prophet Muhammad.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court upheld its decision to overturn Asia Bibi’s conviction and death sentence sparking fears of civil unrest which plagued her release last year.
Wilson Chowdhry of the British Pakistani Association told HuffPost UK: “I can confirm that Asia Bibi will be flown out to Canada very, very soon and be joined in Canada by the rest of her family in due time.”
He said Canadian diplomats are making the necessary arrangements and that Bibi “is looking forward to her new life in a new country.”
It is hoped Bibi will join two of her daughters, who have already been secretly transported to Canada, Chowdhry said.
Security concerns are still paramount. Even in Canada, Asia’s life is in potential danger.
Wilson Chowdhry, British Pakistani Association
Canada’s Global Affairs department would not confirm Chowdhry’s update, but said that Bibi’s case is a “priority” for the Canadian government.
“Canada is prepared to do everything we can to ensure the safety of Asia Bibi,” Global Affairs Canada spokeswoman Brittany Fletcher said on Tuesday. “We urge the Government of Pakistan to take all necessary steps to keep her safe. Freedom of religion is a fundamental human right, and must be fully respected.”
Speaking on background, officials told HuffPost Canada they are actively working to secure her release but won’t confirm details due to safety concerns for Bibi and diplomats.
Chowdhry, a close friend of the Bibi family who travelled the world trying to secure her asylum, said Bibi was moving to a secret and “relatively remote” part of Canada.
“Security concerns are still paramount. Even in Canada, Asia’s life is in potential danger.”