11/07/2018, 14.33
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Pakistan: 'Only Asia Bibi can demand a review of her sentence', not the radicals

by Shafique Khokhar

The Christian woman was acquitted of blasphemy charges. The law provides that only the injured party can appeal against a ruling by the Supreme Court. Activist: "The judges will not change their mind".

Islamabad (AsiaNews) - Only Asia Bibi, the Christian mother acquitted of blasphemy charges, "has the right to demand a review of the Supreme Court ruling", and not the Islamic radicals who instead obtained the go-ahead from the government to proceed with the submission of the request. Naveed Walter, director of Human Rights Focus Pakistan, told AsiaNews. He defends the acquittal verdict pronounced by the judges, because "it is based on facts and evidence".

The debate surrounding the woman, a mother of five children, acquitted by the judges of the supreme court, is still alive in the country. The Pakistani law provides that the request for revision of the sentence of the last degree of judgment can be presented only by the injured party. In this case, Asia Bibi.

The review request was made by the fundamentalists of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (Tlp), who organized  demonstrations, blockades and violence in various cities of the country. The group obtained consensus to re-examine the acquittal verdict from the government of Imran Khan, who at first gave the impression of wanting to resist the pressure of Islamic radicals.

At this point, however, it is up to the judges to decide whether to accept the request. They have not yet made it known how they intend to proceed. However, Nadeem Walter is certain that "the sentence will not change and Asia Bibi will be released and transferred to a safer place with her family".

The activist adds that the name of the Christian woman "cannot be included in the Exit Control List [as the extremists would like, which in fact would not allow her to leave the country - ed], because Asia is not investigated in any other case". Finally he hopes that the example of the case of Asia Bibi, a clear manipulation of justice for personal ends, "may lead to the amendment of the blasphemy law".

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