PARIS: Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who spent years on death row conviction of blasphemy, has said that she was seeking political asylum in France.
“My great desire is to live in France,” Bibi said in an interview with RTL radio, her first trip to France since fleeing with her family to Canada,
Her visit comes a few weeks after the publication of her book “Finally Free” in French last month, with an English version due in September.
“France is the country from where I received my new life… Anne-Isabelle is an angel for me,” she said, referring to French journalist Anne-Isabelle Tollet, who campaigned for her release and later co-wrote her book.
On Tuesday, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo bestowed an honourary citizenship certificate granted to Asia Bibi by the city in 2014 when she was still behind bars.
She said she did not have any meeting scheduled with President Emmanuel Macron, but would like the president to hear her request.
In her book, Bibi recounts the nightmare conditions she was subjected to in prison until her release in 2018. She later fled with her family to Canada, where she has been living in an undisclosed location under police protection.
“Obviously I am enormously grateful to Canada,” Bibi said, adding that she now wanted to work with Tollet to urge Pakistan authorities to free others imprisoned over the anti-blasphemy laws.
Last May, she flew to Canada where Tollet was the only reporter to have met her since her arrival.
She also recounts the difficulty of adjusting to her new life and the pain of having to leave without seeing her father or other family members. “Pakistan is my country. I love my country but I am in exile forever,” she wrote.
Download MM News mobile application and keep yourself updated.