Islamic Radicals Going Door-to-Door Hunting for Family of Christian Pakistani Woman Acquitted of Blasphemy Charges

Islamist activists carry placards against Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman who was recently released after spending eight years on death row for blasphemy, during a rally coinciding with Eid Milad-un-Nabi, which marks the birth anniversary of Prophet Muhammad, in Karachi on November 21, 2018. (Photo credit: ASIF HASSAN/AFP/Getty Images)

The family of a Christian Pakistani woman acquitted of blasphemy charges last month have reportedly been driven into hiding by hardline religious groups trying to hunt them down.

Asia Bibi, whose exoneration sparked protests in Pakistan over the past three weeks, is already in protective custody, the Guardian reports. But her family is now in hiding as they hope to be granted asylum in Europe or North America. Bibi’s lawyer has already fled the country.

“Mullahs had been reported in their neighborhood going from house to house showing photos of family members on their phones, trying to hunt them down,” John Pontifex of Catholic group Aid to the Church in Need U.K. (ACN) told the Guardian. “The family have had to move from place to place to avoid detection.”

Pakistan’s highest court acquitted Bibi in late October of blasphemy charges. She had previously been sentenced to death, and was held on death row for eight years. After her acquittal, Bibi was released from prison and transferred to Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital, under heavy security.

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SOURCE: TIME, Eli Meixler