I've been invited to live in France, says Asia Bibi after meeting Macron 

WION Web Team New Delhi Feb 29, 2020, 12.04 PM(IST)

Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman, who was acquitted of blasphemy in Pakistan, meets French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France February 28, 2020. Photograph:( Reuters )

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Bibi, a farmworker and a mother of four, was convicted in 2010 of making derogatory remarks about Islam after neighbours working in the fields with her objected to her drinking water from their glass because she was not Muslim.

Asia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy in Pakistan, said on Friday that she had been invited to live in France by President Emmanuel Macron. 

Bibi, who was acquitted of the blasphemy conviction last year, has been living with her family in Canada.  

Speaking about her audience with Macron about French offer of asylum, Bibi said: "I have received the invitation from the president and the French Republic, and I'm honoured."

Speaking outside Macron's Elysee Palace headquarters, she said, though, that she needed time to make a decision about whether to move to France, saying she wanted to focus for now on her health and her family.

An Elysee official said: "France is ready to welcome her if that is her wish, in accordance with the procedures for a request for asylum."

Under French rules, someone seeking asylum has to submit a request to an independent state agency, which decides whether to grant it. It was not clear if Bibi had submitted a request, Reuters report stated.

Bibi, a farmworker and a mother of four, was convicted in 2010 of making derogatory remarks about Islam after neighbours working in the fields with her objected to her drinking water from their glass because she was not Muslim.

She spent eight years on death row.

She was released in October 2018 after Pakistan's Supreme Court overturned her conviction. That decision prompted protests from religious hardliners calling for her death and demanding that the government prevent her from leaving Pakistan.

(With inputs from Reuters)