AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – The lawyer who helped free a Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy in Pakistan will seek political asylum in the Netherlands, Dutch news website NU.nl reported on Tuesday.
“I am waiting for an offer from the Dutch government,” it quoted lawyer Saiful Mulook as saying.
Mulook defended Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who spent eight years on death row until being acquitted on Wednesday, a case that led to the assassination of two Pakistani politicians.
Mulook, who said on Monday he fled Pakistan on Saturday because of fears for the safety of his family, was now sheltering with a Dutch group, the Association for Persecuted Christians, and had no idea where Bibi was.
Bibi was convicted in 2010 of making derogatory remarks about Islam during an argument with her neighbours, and had been on death row since then. She denied committing blasphemy.
The court’s decision on Wednesday to overturn the verdict led to violent protests throughout mainly Muslim Pakistan by angry mobs calling for the judges in the case to be killed.
Several parties in the Dutch parliament have said they support providing temporary shelter to Bibi if she flees Pakistan.
Islamists have shut down major cities in Pakistan through days of demonstrations against Bibi’s acquittal. They have said they will escalate the protests if she were permitted to leave the country. The government has indicated it will bar her from travelling abroad.
Canada urged Pakistan on Tuesday to ensure the well-being of Bibi as her life was in danger after her acquittal.
(Reporting by Anthony Deutsch; Editing by Mark Heinrich)