De­fense lawyer in blas­phemy case flees Pak­istan

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - News -

The lawyer for a Chris­tian woman ac­quit­ted of blas­phemy charges af­ter spend­ing eight years on death row in Pak­istan has fled the coun­try, fear­ing for his safety, her brother said Satur­day.

James Masih said Asia Bibi’s lawyer, Sai­ful Malook, left Pak­istan, with­out pro­vid­ing fur­ther de­tails. Malook’s phone was switched off.

Pak­istan’s top court ac­quit­ted Bibi on Wed­nes­day and ordered her re­lease in a move that in­fu­ri­ated the coun­try’s hard­line Is­lamists, who have held na­tion­wide protests de­mand­ing her ex­e­cu­tion.

The gov­ern­ment reached a deal with the Is­lamists overnight in which it agreed to im­pose a travel ban on Bibi while the case is re­viewed. In re­turn, the Is­lamists halted their protests, which had blocked roads and brought life to a stand­still in parts of the coun­try.

Malook said this week that he would have to leave Pak­istan be­cause the fol­low­ers of hard-line cleric Khadim Hus­sain Rizvi had threat­ened to kill him as well as the judges who ac­quit­ted Bibi.

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