A Pakistani Christian woman acquitted of blasphemy eight years after being sentenced to death has been flown out of the country for security reasons.
Amid tight security, Asia Bibi left a detention facility in Punjab province for a flight to the capital city Islamabad, officials said. Troops guarded the roads leading to the airport from which she departed.
Her lawyer Saif ul Malook said that she was being flown out of Pakistan with her immediate family but he did not know where they were going.
Authorities last month said they arrested two prisoners for allegedly conspiring to strangle her and since then additional police and troops have been deployed to the facility in Punjab.
Antonio Tajani, the president of the European parliament, tweeted: “Asia Bibi has left the prison and has been transferred to a safe place! I thank the Pakistani authorities.
“I look forward meeting her and her family, in the European Parliament as soon as possible.”
Islamists took to the street in protest after Asia Bibi was acquitted (EPA)
Ms Bibi’s move comes a week after the high court in a landmark ruling acquitted her and ordered her released.
It triggered nationwide protests and Ms Bibi’s release was put on hold on Friday after authorities held talks with radical Islamists who want her publicly hanged.
Ms Bibi was arrested in 2009 on charges of insulting Islam’s prophet and she was sentenced to death in 2010. Her family has always maintained her innocence and says she never insulted the prophet.
Blasphemy against Islam is punishable by death in Pakistan.