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Pope greets family of Asia Bibi at general audience

The daughters of Pakistani Christian woman Asia Bibi hold a photo of their mother (CNS)

Pope Francis gave a special greeting to Asia Bibi’s husband and one of her daughters at the his general audience today, according to Vatican Radio.

Ms Bibi, a Pakistani Christian who was sentenced to death for blasphemy, is to appeal to the country’s supreme court in a last legal attempt to save her life.

In 2009 she was working in a field with some Muslim women and when she was asked to fetch water the women objected that as a non-Muslim she was unfit to touch the water bowl. They later accused her of blasphemy, which is a capital offence in Pakistan.

In October 2014 a high court in Lahore upheld the death sentence but the conviction must still be upheld by Pakistan’s Supreme Court before the sentence can be carried out.

In an interview with Vatican Radio, Asia Bibi’s lawyer Joseph Nadeem highlighted the importance of the international community putting pressure on the Pakistani government to free Ms Bibi.

“The last chance is a presidential pardon, [which] could happen if the international community will pressurize the Pakistani government and ask for the freedom of Asia Bibi,” he said.

“We already submitted two applications in the Supreme Court for the appeal hearing, but the Chief Justice rejected our applications because they asked to wait for the suitable time. It could take one to four years.”