Although acquitted of blasphemy charges last week by the Pakistani Supreme Court, Asia Bibi still fears for her life and remains confined to a prison that is serving as a safe house, CNN reported Monday.
Her husband, Ashiq Masih, pleaded for asylum for his family and called on British, Canadian, and U.S. leaders for help, according to the BBC. Masih told German broadcaster DW that the deal the Pakistani government made with protesters from the Islamist group Tehreek-e-Labaik “sent a shiver down my spine.”
That deal, struck to end days of protests against Bibi’s acquittal, included allowing the Supreme Court to review its own decision, putting Bibi on an “exit control” list preventing her from leaving Pakistan, and releasing all arrested protesters without charges.
William Stark of International Christian Concern said that preventing Bibi from leaving “opens up opportunity for her to be assassinated.” —Julia A. Seymour
The Sudanese intelligence service this month detained and abused nine Christians, including a priest who faced apostasy charges, a rights group said.
The African Center for Justice and Peace Studies said the National Intelligence Security Services in the state of South Darfur arrested the Christians from the town of Nyala on Oct. 13. The group reported the agency released eight of the Christians who denied their faith after facing torture that included beatings with hoses.
The intelligence agency also charged the priest with apostasy after he refused to recant and return to Islam. Agents have increasingly targeted Christian churches as the country cracks down on religious freedom. The human rights group said it “remains concerned about the crime of apostasy and the provision of the death penalty as punishment for those found guilty of apostasy.” —O.O.