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Freedom of Religion or Belief — [Ms Karen Buck in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 1:30 pm on 12th March 2020.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health) 1:30 pm, 12th March 2020

I thank the hon. Gentleman for that helpful intervention. I subscribe to those views as well. He is correct; the blasphemy laws are used maliciously against people. One case that everyone would be aware of is that of Asia Bibi. We were in Pakistan in September 2018 and had an opportunity to meet two of the three judges who were to make the decision on Asia Bibi. We were clear what we were doing when we went there. We were not going to tell the Pakistani Government that they should change everything; we were going to say, “This does not work, because people are maliciously using the law against others for their own reasons.” Our meetings with the judges who were deliberating on Asia Bibi were very helpful and supportive of the case. We were sworn to secrecy and were not able to say that until the case was heard in court, and Asia Bibi was released. I know that there was an appeal after that. Now she is free and living in Canada.