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Italy 'would offer job' to Pakistan blasphemy woman

'Hope' for Asia Bibi clemency, Frattini says

25 November, 17:37
Italy 'would offer job' to Pakistan blasphemy woman (ANSA) - Rome, November 25 - Italy is ready to offer asylum and a job to a Christian woman sentenced to death in Pakistan for derogatory remarks about the Prophet Mohammed, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said Thursday.

"If she were freed, and we hope so, Italy is ready to offer her a job (here)," Frattini said.

Asia Bibi, a 45-year-old mother of five, was sentenced to death by hanging on November 8 under Pakistan's blasphemy laws but her supporters are hopeful President Asif Ali Zardari will grant her clemency.

Earlier this month, during a visit to Islamabad, Frattini pressed for Bibi's case to be reopened during talks on alleged discrimination against Pakistan's four million Christians.

Frattini said afterwards: "Perhaps we have saved her". Frattini added that he had received a "commitment" from Pakistan Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani to have the country's blasphemy laws changed.

Bibi is the first woman to get the death penalty in Pakistan for blasphemy.

In July two Christian brothers were shot under the blasphemy laws.

The Italian government has launched a drive to ensure religious freedom for Christians in Muslim countries and is presenting a draft resolution to the United Nations.

It has voiced concern, echoing Pope Benedict XVI, about persecution in Iraq where there has been an exodus after persistent attacks including a Baghdad church bombing on October 31 that killed more than 50 people.

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