12-August-2013 -- Catholic News Agency |

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Spanish Government Criticized For Silence On Asia Bibi

(http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=27839)

MADRID, SPAIN, August 7 (CNA) .- The Spanish civil liberties website MasLibres is criticizing the Spanish government for failing to advocate on behalf of Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Catholic sentenced to die under the country's blasphemy law.

During a visit to Morocco in mid-July, King Juan Carlos of Spain is believed to have petitioned King Mohammed VI for the pardon of four dozen Spanish prisoners, which was granted on July 30.

Among the prisoners was Daniel Galvan, who was sentenced in 2011 to 30 years for sexually abusing 11 children. After widespread protest, Galvan's pardon was revoked and he was re-detained in the Spanish city of Murcia.

Galvan's case contrasts sharply with that of Asia Bibi, the Catholic mother who gained worldwide attention in 2010 when she was condemned to death for allegedly violating Pakistan's blasphemy laws.

Despite repeated requests from organizations such as MasLibres, the Spanish government has yet to intercede on behalf of Bibi, who is awaiting a ruling on the appeal of her death sentence.

The spokesman for MasLibres, Miguel Vidal, said the organization has asked Spain's Foreign Affairs Minister, Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo, "to employ at the least the same effectiveness shown with the pedophile to save the life of Asia Bibi."

In his message, Vidal noted that "eight months ago, we asked the government for help in liberating Asia Bibi and bringing her to Spain. We have never received an answer."

"Why has the Spanish government moved with such effectiveness to liberate a Spanish pedophile imprisoned in Morocco and is silent about Asia Bibi?" Vidal asked.

"On December 13, 2012, we went with the family of Asia Bibi to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ask that they intercede in her case and to begin the process for accepting her in Spain the moment she is released."

"The interview we had at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with Bibi's husband and oldest daughter was very positive: they explained to us the steps that needed to be taken for the granting of asylum and they appeared favorable to taking some measures," Vidal said.

He acknowledged that it was made clear during the meeting that international relations move at their own pace.

"However, eight months have passed and we still have no news," he said.

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