05/15/2019, 09.33
PAKISTAN
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Fundamentalist who incited mob against Asia Bibi is released

The judges released Khadim Hussain Rizvi and his deputy Pir Afzal Qadri, both for health reasons. Rizvi is the head of the radical Islamic group Tehreek-Labaik Pakistan that last year paralyzed Pakistan after the acquittal of the Christian mother. A video posted online of a man who travelled to Canada to kill Asia.

Lahore (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Lahore High Court has ordered the release on bail of Khadim Hussain Rizvi, leader of the Islamic fundamentalist group Tehreek-Labaik Pakistan (Tlp). He is the radical "crowd agitator" arrested last year on charges of terrorism for paralyzing Pakistan with street protests and violence following the acquittal of Asia Bibi, the Christian mother sentenced to death for blasphemy after nine years in prison.

His deputy, Pir Afzal Qadri, was also released along with the extremist. Both obtained a suspended sentence until 15 July, for health reasons. The judges' decision comes a week after the liberation of Asia, who was finally able to leave the country and reached Canada where her daughters are already.

The release on bail seems to be motivated by the objective of restoring harmony to Pakistan. However, yesterday Wilson Chowdhry, president of the Christian group British Pakistani Christian Association (Bpca) that in recent years has supported the woman's family, denounces new threats against Asia. A video  has been posted online portraying an Islamic radical who is in Canada with the intent to kill her and threatens "the enemies of Islam and the Jewish government that freed Asia Bibi".

Asia Bibi was acquitted of charges of blasphemy on October 31, 2018, after having spent nine years in prison, sentenced to death and awaiting an appeal process that was continually postponed due to fundamentalist groups' pressure and threats on the judges. 

Following the sentence that declared the Christian mother "not guilty", in November  the Islamic radicals of the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (Tlp) party set the country on fire and contested her acquittal. To prevent the escalation of violence, the government of Imran Khan came to terms with the demonstrators and agreed to a revision of the Supreme Court verdict. Later, Asia was released but could not leave the country because on that agreement with the radicals.

 In January this year the judges of the Supreme Court pronounced a courageous sentence that once and for all also rejects the petition of Islamic radicals who wanted to overturn the sentence of acquittal against the Christian woman.

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