Asia Bibi′s husband, Ashiq Masih, appeals to US President Donald Trump for asylum | News | DW | 04.11.2018
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Asia Bibi's husband, Ashiq Masih, appeals to US President Donald Trump for asylum

Ashiq Masih, the husband of Christian Pakistani woman Asia Bibi, who was recently acquitted after spending eight years on death row on blasphemy charges, has pleaded to world leaders to help the family leave the country.

Despite her acquittal by the Supreme Court in a blasphemy appeal case on Wednesday, Asia Bibi is still in detention.

Her husband, Ashiq Masih, has now appealed to US President Donald Trump, British Prime Minister Theresa May and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to help the family exit the country.

Following Bibi's acquittal, the hard-line Tehreek-e-Labbaik (TLP) party took to the streets and forced the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan to strike a deal to end the protest.

According to the deal, the government will not block a review petition for the acquittal and will take measures to ban Bibi from traveling abroad.

"I am requesting the president of the United States, Donald Trump, to help us exit from Pakistan," Masih said in a video recorded by the British Pakistani Christian Association.

"I also request the prime minister of the United Kingdom to help us, I also request the prime minister of Canada," he said, while also asking for help on behalf of his brother Joseph Nadeem, who has assisted with Bibi's case.

In another video sent to DW by Islamabad correspondent Haroon Janjua, Masih sent out the same message.

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Asia Bibi's husband Ashiq Masih pleads for asylum

Ongoing ordeal

On Saturday, Bibi's lawyer Saiful Mulook left Pakistan for an undisclosed European country "to save [my] life from [the] angry mob."

Bibi was arrested in June 2009, after her neighbors complained that she had made derogatory remarks about Islam's Prophet Muhammad. A year later, Bibi was sentenced to death under the country's blasphemy laws despite strong opposition from national and international human rights groups.

After a hearing on October 8 of this year, Pakistan's Supreme Court reversed two lower court verdicts against Bibi in what was her final appeal against her 2010 death sentence.

In 2014, the death sentence had been upheld by the Lahore High Court. Rights group Amnesty International dubbed the verdict a "grave injustice."

In 2015, Bibi's lawyers filed an appeal in the Supreme Court against the death penalty.

Read more: Opinion: Bibi verdict avoids Pakistan's blasphemy problem

Living in fear

In an exclusive interview with DW on Saturday, Bibi's husband criticized the deal between Islamabad and the TLP.

"The agreement has sent a shiver down my spine. My family is frightened, my relatives are frightened and my friends are also frightened. This agreement should never have been struck. The three judges delivered the verdict after taking into account all aspects of the case, analyzing all factors, studying the contradictions and basing everything on facts," Masih told DW.

"The current situation is very dangerous for us. We have no security and are hiding here and there, frequently changing our location. I think that the clerics will encircle the Supreme Court on the day of the hearing. I really feel very afraid of going on that day. But I think God has been protecting us and he will also continue to protect us. I place all my trust in God," Masih added.

On Sunday, Qamar Rafiq, who is associated with Bibi's family, told DW in an audio message that they are under a great amount of stress.

"They fear that the current turmoil could be harmful to them, and that they could even be killed," Rafiq said.

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