Pakistani family seeks pardon for Christian woman

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
November 20, 2010 23:16

ISLAMABAD — The family of a Pakistani Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy against Islam said Saturday they are hoping for a presidential pardon that could bring her home in time for Christmas.

The case against Asia Bibi — which started with a spat over a sip of water — has renewed calls for reform of Pakistan's blasphemy law, which critics say have been used to settle grudges, persecute minorities and fan religious extremism.President Asif Ali Zardari has asked for a report on the case and could issue a pardon even before a court issues its decision on an appeal against the verdict, said Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan's minister for minority affairs.

The 45-year-old mother of five appeared in a tearful televised briefing for reporters Saturday at the prison in Punjab province, declaring her innocence to reporters and maintaining the case stemmed from personal disputes that led to a false accusation.


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