Speaking to Aid to the Church in Need, Asia Bibi revealed that it is the first time in nine years of imprisonment that she has been allowed to have a religious object with her in her cell.
The organization, a Papal charity that supports persecuted Christians, organized a meeting in the Vatican on February 24 between Pope Francis and Asia Bibi’s husband, Ashiq, and daughter, Eisham. It was during that occasion that Francis entrusted to them a rosary for Asia and asked them to tell her that he is praying for her.
Asia Bibi was jailed in June 2009 and sentenced to death for blasphemy. After two transfers, she has been held in one of the three windowless cells on death row in the southern province of Multan in the Punjab Penitentiary.
“I received the Pope’s gift with devotion and gratitude” Asia Bibi reportedly said, adding that the rosary offers her great consolation while the knowledge that the Pope is praying for her and thinking of her is a source of great comfort.
ACN also said Asia’s daughter and husband told her of how the Colosseum was lit up in blood red on the evening of 24 February in memory of and in tribute to Christian martyrs.
“International awareness of my case is fundamental for me. It is thanks to this that I am still alive” she said.
And she thanked ACN for the work it does for all victims of the anti-blasphemy law which, she said, if abused is ruthlessly used against religious minorities.