Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Asia Bibi lawyer returns to Pakistan to aid in review appeal

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands:  The lawyer of a Christian woman acquitted of blasphemy Saturday jetted out of the Netherlands to “hopefully assist his client for the last time” in a court hearing, a Dutch MP said. 

Saif-ul-Malook fled to the Netherlands from Pakistan in November last year after violent protests erupted over the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the conviction of Asia Bibi, who was on death row.

The Supreme Court will decide on Tuesday whether to allow an appeal against Bibi’s acquittal, lawyers in the case have said.

Christian Union party parliamentarian Joel Voordewind tweeted a picture of himself and Malook saying “this afternoon (Saturday) I escorted Asia Bibi’s lawyer, Mr Malook to Schiphol airport.”

“He’s going back to Pakistan to hopefully represent Asia for the last time in her case,” Voordewind said.

The Netherlands last year granted Malook a temporary stay, but Voordewind said Malook will “unfortunately lose his asylum status in the Netherlands.”

The allegations against Bibi date back to 2009, when Muslim women accused her of making derogatory remarks about Islam, a charge punishable by death under the colonial-era legislation.

Her case drew the attention of international rights groups and swiftly became the most high-profile in the country.

If the court refuses to allow the appeal, it will remove the last legal hurdle facing Bibi, who remains in protective custody.

Bibi was on death row for eight years for blasphemy, a hugely sensitive charge.

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