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article imageItaly, others to help Pakistan blasphemy Christian

By AFP     Nov 7, 2018 in World

Italy is one of several countries seeking to help a Pakistani Christian woman who has spent eight years on death row for blasphemy, a rights group said on Wednesday.

Several governments have said they want to help Asia Bibi and "we'll have to see which government acts first," Marta Petrosillo, spokeswoman for Aid to the Church in Need, which helps persecuted Christians worldwide, told AFP.

Italy's Interior Minister Matteo Salvini tweeted on Tuesday: "I will do everything humanly possible to guarantee this young woman's future."

Bibi is still in a Pakistani prison a week after the country's highest court overturned her conviction.

Ultra-conservative Islamists blockaded major cities to demand her immediate execution in a three-day stand-off that ended when Prime Minister Imran Khan's administration agreed to allow a review of the Supreme Court ruling.

The deal has left Bibi in legal limbo -- and languishing in jail for a crime of which she has been acquitted.

Her husband Ashiq Masih has said the delay in releasing his wife, a mother of five, was adding to the family's agony.

Italian Catholic association ACS said that Masih had specifically appealed to Italy for help to leave Pakistan.

"We are very worried because our lives are in danger. We don't even have anything left to eat because we can't go out to do the shopping," Masih said, according to an Italian translation of a video posted on the association's website.

Masih has also appealed for Britain or the United States to grant the family asylum, while her lawyer has fled to the Netherlands.

France's junior minister for Gender Equality Marlene Schiappa said on Wednesday she was looking at how to help Bibi "along with European and international partners".

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