18:40 GMT +321 August 2019
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    In this Nov. 20, 2010, file photo, Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman, listens to officials at a prison in Sheikhupura near Lahore, Pakistan.

    Blasphemy Law Victim Sentenced to Hang in Pakistan Finally Flees to Canada

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    Hailed by her supporters for withstanding months of legal limbo and being the "most hated figure" in Pakistan, Christian woman Asia Bibi has reunited with her daughters and husband.

    The British Pakistani Christian Association Chairman, Wilson Chowdhry, has expressed gratitude for the release of Bibi.

    "Having spoken to various diplomats and Government officials I have been astounded by reports that the delay was caused by the myopic approach by leaders of Pakistan's military who have prevented the exit of Asia Bibi through fear of the bad press the nation of Pakistan would receive. Their pernicious delays have only served to fuel more international shame on a country which has already hit rock-bottom with their poor human rights record. Asia Bibi is unwell and has suffered 10 years of isolation both in and out of captivity — she must be treated with utmost care and receive appropriate medical care now she is free," Chowdhry added.

    UK Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt, who throughout Bibi's detention in Pakistan has been pressured to grant her asylum in the UK, also reacted to the news of Bibi's release.

    Reports of Asia Bibi leaving Pakistan and arriving in Canada were confirmed by her lawyer Saif-ul Malook.

    "She left the country yesterday and safely reached her destination, Canada, according to my information," he said.

    Bibi was put on death row for blasphemy in Pakistan almost ten years ago, following allegations by Muslim women she worked with that she insulted Prophet Mohammed. Bibi denied the claims but was jailed and sentenced to hang on November 11, 2010.

    The mother of three was eventually set free, following years in jail, after the Pakistani Supreme Court overturned the conviction in 2018.

    Pakistani protesters burn a poster image of Christian woman Asia Bibi, who has spent eight-years on death row accused of blasphemy and acquitted by a Supreme Court, in Hyderabad, Pakistan, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018
    © AP Photo / Pervez Masih
    Pakistani protesters burn a poster image of Christian woman Asia Bibi, who has spent eight-years on death row accused of blasphemy and acquitted by a Supreme Court, in Hyderabad, Pakistan, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018

    The woman was being held in Pakistan, after Imran Khan's government agreed to allow a petition challenging the court decision that had angered religious extremists in the country, actively opposing Bibi's release by organizing rallies in several large cities.

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    blasphemy, Christians, Asia Bibi, Canada, Pakistan
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