A ‘positive development’ in Pakistan
International | Asia Bibi decision proves religious freedom protections are possible in the country
by Mindy Belz
Posted 1/30/19, 09:48 am
PAKISTAN: Christian mother Asia Bibi—held for nine years—is free to go after the Supreme Court upheld its acquittal from the death penalty conviction for blasphemy against Islam. Bibi, who watched from a secret location as the decision was announced, is expected to join her daughters in exile in Canada.
Former Pakistani Ambassador to the United States Hussain Haqqan said the court’s decision “is a positive development. It also shows that if and when the state decides to protect its citizens’ rights, it can do so. Fear of adverse public sentiment is often just an excuse.”
CHINA: A Chinese court sentenced prominent human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang to 4½ years in prison on charges of subverting state power following a closed-door trial. The 42-year-old, who represented political dissidents and the victims of land grabs, first went missing during a 2015 crackdown, when Communist agents detained more than 320 lawyers and activists.
MEXICO: The United States sent the first Central American asylum seeker back to Mexico through a new immigration policy. Under the Migrant Protection Protocols, the United States will return non-Mexican migrants who cross the U.S. southern border back to Mexico while their asylum requests are processed in U.S. immigration courts.
IRAQ: The emir of the Yazidis, the religious group brought to the world’s attention after it was devastated by ISIS in Iraq, has died in Hanover, Germany. Tahseen Said Ali was born in 1933 in Iraq, and at age 11 he became the head of the world’s Yazidis after the death of his father.
VENEZUELA: The United States imposed heavy sanctions on Venezuela’s oil industry—and may be forced to tap its own emergency reserve as a result.
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