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17-November-2010 -- Vatican Information Service
Papal Appeal For Asia Bibi
VATICAN CITY, 17 NOV 2010 (VIS) - At the end of today's general audience the Holy Father, with reference to the situation of Christians in Pakistan, pronounced the following words:
"Over these days the international community is, with great concern, following the situation of Christians in Pakistan, who are often victims of violence or discrimination. In particular, I today express my spiritual closeness to Ms Asia Bibi and her family while asking that, as soon as possible, she may be restored to complete freedom. I also pray for people who find themselves in similar situations, that their human dignity and fundamental rights may be fully respected".
Asia Bibi is a Pakistani Christian who, following a discussion with some Muslim colleagues, was accused by the latter of having pronounced offensive words against the Prophet Mohammed and denounced to the local imam. The imam asked the police to intervene and an investigation began which, a few days later, led to the arrest of Asia Bibi on the accusation of violating code 295 of the penal code, which provides for the death penalty for blasphemy.