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Saturday Oct 07 2017

Europe's ECR Group nominates Asia Bibi for Sakharov prize

BRUSSELS: The European Parliament's foreign affairs and development committee will hold a joint meeting on Tuesday to shortlist three candidates for this year's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.

The prize — awarded every year by the EP — was set up in 1988 to honour individuals and organisations defending human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The EP's European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) Group has nominated Asia Bibi (formal: Aasiya Noreen) — a Pakistani Christian woman sentenced to death in 2010 under the country's blasphemy law and currently on death row.

Three members of the EP (MEP) — Peter Van Dalen, Anna Fotyga, and Tomasz Poreba — have long campaigned for the release of Bibi, whose appeal to the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SC) has been postponed to an undetermined date.

Speaking to here, Dr. Sajjad Karim — an MEP and legal affairs spokesperson of the ECR Group — said, "The Asia Bibi matter has built up a head of steam in the EU."

"Pakistan really must understand the message being sent by the EU," he stated, adding that "her case and surrounding issues must be properly managed and addressed".

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