Blasphemy convict Aaysia Bibi nominated for top prize by EU ECR group

Blasphemy convict Aaysia Bibi nominated for top prize by EU ECR group
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LONDON - The European Parliament’s European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) Group has nominated Asia Bibi, formally known as Aasiya Noreen, a Pakistani Christian woman sentenced to death in 2010 under the country’s blasphemy law and currently on death row for this year’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.

The European Parliament’s foreign affairs and development committee will hold a joint meeting on Tuesday to shortlist three candidates for this year’s prize.

The prize — awarded every year by the European Parliament — was set up in 1988 to honour individuals and organisations defending human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Three members of the EP (MEP) — Peter Van Dalen, Anna Fotyga, and Tomasz Poreba — have long campaigned for the release of Bibi, whose appeal to the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SC) has been postponed to an undetermined date.

Dr Sajjad Karim — an MEP and legal affairs spokesperson of the ECR Group — said, “The Asia Bibi matter has built up a head of steam in the EU.”

“Pakistan really must understand the message being sent by the EU,” he stated, adding that “her case and surrounding issues must be properly managed and addressed”.

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