Asia Bibi “be given back her freedom” says Pope Benedict
17 Nov 2010
Vatican City: November 17, 2010. (AFP) Pope Benedict XVI has called for the release of Christian mother Asia Bibi who was sentenced to death last week in Pakistan for blasphemy, the Vatican announced.
The pontiff said the mother of five should "be given back her freedom", during the weekly general address in St Peter's Square, a Vatican statement said.
"I feel close to Asia Bibi and her family and I ask that she be released as soon as possible," he said.
Advertisement: Story continues below Bibi was sentenced to death November 11 in Pakistan's central province Punjab following a charge in 2009 that the non-Muslim had made derogatory remarks about the Prophet Mohammed.
"I pray for those who find themselves in similar situations so that their human dignity and fundamental rights are respected," Benedict said, adding that Christians in Pakistan "are often victims of violence and discrimination".
Pakistan has yet to execute anyone for blasphemy, but the case spotlights the Muslim country's controversial laws on the subject which rights activists say encourage Islamist extremism in a nation wracked by Taliban attacks.