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Ottawa talking with Pakistan about bringing acquitted woman to Canada

Last Updated Nov 12, 2018 at 6:40 pm EST

In this Nov. 20, 2010, file photo, Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman, listens to officials at a prison in Sheikhupura near Lahore, Pakistan. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Ottawa is in discussions with Pakistan about the possibilty of bringing Bibi, who was recently released from death row, to Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, File

OTTAWA – The federal government is talking with Pakistan about the possibilty of bringing a Pakistani woman, who was recently released from death row, to Canada.

Asia Bibi, a Christian, was sentenced to death in Pakistan eight years ago for blasphemy after being convicted of insulting Islam’s Prophet Muhammad — a charge her family has long denied.

Pakistan’s high court recently overturned Bibi’s conviction and ordered her release in a decision that triggered public outrage and protests across the predominantly Muslim country.

Since her release, Bibi and her family have faced threats and her husband has pleaded with countries in the West to relocate them.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in an email Monday that Canada is in talks with Pakistan about Bibi.

Cameron Ahmad said the government recognizes the delicate domestic context and won’t comment further on the case, but he noted Canada is a welcoming country.

Bibi’s 2009 arrest came after she was accused of blasphemy following an altercation with two fellow farm workers who refused to drink from a water container a Christian had used. A mob accused her a few days later of insulting Muhammad, which led to her 2010 conviction.

— with files from The Associated Press