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Asia Bibi has not been freed despite Internet stories and rumors

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Asia Bibi has not been freed despite Internet stories and rumors

Asia Bibi, the 45-year-old Christian mother of five who was sentenced to death last year for alleged blasphemy, has not been pardoned and freed by Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, despite stories and rumors that are floating around the Internet.

One British website, run by the Scottish Catholic Observer, reported, “Asia Bibi, the first Christian woman to be sentenced to death for blasphemy in Pakistan, has been freed. She was released today after receiving a pardon by Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and has gone into hiding over fears for her safety.

“The 45-year-old mother has been in prison since June 2009. She was found guilty of blasphemy despite there being no evidence that she committed the crime and her repeated denial of the charges laid against her. Ms Bibi was sentenced to death on November 8 this year by judge Naveed Iqbal.”

This old story has since been picked up by various bloggers and so I checked with the editor who explained, “The last time we reported on Asia Bibi in the SCO online was last year (story dated on November 23 2010) when Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari said he wanted to spare her. I was subsequently told he was overruled.”

This is the source of the story: http://www.sconews.co.uk/news/4497/pakistani-woman-spared-blasphemy-execution. The confusion is that today’s date appears when you check it out.

So then I contacted one of our ANS reporters in Pakistan who said, “No, Asia Bibi is still in detention. CLAAS [the Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement Pakistan] was called by The US Embassy as well in this regard and one of their staff told the US Embassy that she was in still in jail.

Ms. Bibi was accused of insulting the Prophet Muhammad by Muslim field workers following a dispute over their different faiths. When she was asked to bring a cup of water to one of them, the women refused to drink from it, saying that it had been touched by a Christian and was therefore “unclean.” Her conviction and sentence caused an international outcry and shone a spotlight on Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. Pope Benedict XVI joined world leaders in appealing for Ms. Bibi’s release.

So please continue to pray for Asia Bibi that one day soon she will be freed and be reunited with her family. Until that day, let us all stand with this courageous Christian woman.

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Dan Wooding, 72, is an award winning British journalist now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for 46 years. He is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS). He was, for ten years, a commentator, on the UPI Radio Network in Washington, DC., and now hosts the weekly “Front Page Radio” show on KWVE in Southern California and which is also carried on the Calvary Radio Network throughout the United States. The program is also aired in Great Britain on Calvary Chapel Radio UK. Wooding also a regular contributor to The Weekend Stand on the Crawford Broadcasting Network, and a host for His Channel Live, which is carried via the Internet to some 192 countries. He is the author of some 43 books. Two of the latest include his autobiography, “From Tabloid to Truth”, which is published by Theatron Books. To order a copy, press this link. Wooding, who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, also recently released “God’s Ambassadors in Japan” which is available at amazon.com.

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