Italy says it will help Aasia Bibi leave Pakistan

Italy said on Tuesday it would help a Pakistani Christian woman, Aasia Bibi, leave her country because her life was in danger following charges of blasphemy that put her on death row for eight years.

The Supreme Court had acquitted Aasia Bibi last month, but the decision sparked mass protests and her husband, Ashiq Masih, says they could be killed by those opposing her acquittal. Authorities have indicated they may bar Aasia from travelling abroad.

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“I want women and children whose lives are at risk to be able to have a secure future, in our country or in other Western countries, so I will do everything humanly possible to guarantee that [for Aasia],” Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said. “It is not permissible that in 2018 someone can risk losing their life for a … the hypothesis of blasphemy,” said Salvini, who is also an interior minister.

Italy is working discreetly on the case with other countries, he told an Italian radio station.

Earlier, the international Catholic agency Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) quoted Ashiq Masih as saying in a telephone call: “I appeal to the Italian government to help me and my family leave Pakistan. We are extremely worried because our lives are in danger. We don’t even have enough to eat because we can’t go out to buy food.”

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