Christian peer and MEP call for UK to offer asylum to Asia Bibi

Tue 13 Nov 2018
By Cara Bentley

Lord Beith, former deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, and Catherine Stihler, Labour MEP for Scotland, have said Asia Bibi should be offered a home in the UK.

230 politicians across the world have added their signatures to a letter to the Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, calling for him to protect Asia Bibi.

The letter, signed by bishops, MEPs and members of parliament from countries from Colombia to Poland, reads: "What happens next in this sad story will show the world whether Pakistan is a nation that respects the rule of law, or whether political interests will prevail."

After pointing out that economic prosperity is linked to respect for the rule of law, they added: "Therefore, we urge in the strongest possible terms the Government of Pakistan to guarantee safe passage for Asia, her family, and any of those under threat due to their part in the decision to acquit her, to any country that accepts them."

Catherine Stihler MEP told Premier: "In our prayer breakfast at the European parliament we have been praying for Asia Bibi for some time and I thought it was appropriate to sign the letter to show my support for her cause...but also just in terms of the worrying concern we have at the moment about her safety - we're unclear about where she's being kept. We know that she's out of prison but clearly her safety is paramount.

"I would call on the UK government...when the time comes, to give her asylum."

The former foreign secretary Boris Johnson has called on his predecessor Jeremy Hunt today to grant Asia Bibi asylum in the UK, to which Stihler responded: "It's not often that I agree with Boris Johnson these days, with Brexit and everything, but on this issue about Asia Bibi I think fundamentally the foreign secretary should be wholeheartedly behind granting her asylum in our country and ensure that she can live a free and full life."

Listen to the whole interview with Catherine here: 

Lord Alan Beith, formerly the President of the Lib Dem Christian Forum and the deputy leader of the party, told Premier Christian Radio's News Hour: "There's no question that if she (Asia Bibi) came to England...I believe she'd be fully entitled to asylum under international law."

He added: "I think it would be universal across my Liberal Democrat colleagues that we should be ready to offer asylum - I don't think there'd be any doubt about it - the problem is getting here safely."

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