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Asia Bibi’s acquittal of blasphemy challenged in Pakistan Supreme Court

The acquittal of a Pakistani Catholic woman sentenced to hang for blasphemy is to be challenged in the country’s Supreme Court, according to her husband.

Three judges of the court ordered on 31st October that the death sentence against Asia Bibi, a mother of five, was to be set aside and she was to be released from prison, where she has spent eight years in solitary confinement.

But her husband, Ashiq Masih, confirmed in a telephone interview with BBC World Service that the court had since agreed to accept a review petition questioning the legitimacy of her acquittal.

The British Pakistani Christian Association said in a 5th November press release that the review was to begin that same day. The source was Joseph Nadeem, a close family friend, according to spokesman Wilson Chowdharay.

The challenge to Bibi’s freedom has been made by Tehreek-e-Labbaaik, an extremist group which is also putting pressure on the government to try to stop Bibi from leaving Pakistan, even if her acquittal is upheld.

In his interview, Ashiq told the BBC that he was “hopeful” and “confident” that the Supreme Court in Lahore would dismiss the appeal.

Picture: The daughters of Asia Bibi, a Catholic accused of blasphemy, pose in 2010 with an image of their mother while standing outside their residence in Sheikhupura, Pakistan. The acquittal of Bibi is being challenged in the country’s Supreme Court, according to her husband. (CNS photo/Adrees Latif, Reuters).