'Asia Bibi, the Christian woman facing execution for blasphemy in Pakistan, has had her conviction overturned by the country's highest court.
In a ruling that will anger the country's Islamic hardliners, Mrs Bibi, 47, was told she would no longer face the gallows after nearly a decade on death row.
The mother-of-four was convicted in 2010 of defaming the Prophet Mohammad during a row with Muslim women over drinking water as they picked berries in their village.
Her plight led to international condemnation of Pakistan's harsh blasphemy laws, with Pope Benedict XVI publicly calling for the charges against her to be dismissed.
Militant Islamic clerics, however, put a 5,000 Euro bounty on her head, while two prominent liberal Pakistani politicians who came to her defence have also been assassinated.
The ruling was welcomed today by Mrs Bibi's family, who have spent years in hiding as a result of death threats over the case.
Asia Bibi’s daughter, 18-year-old Eisham Ashiq, said: “This is the most wonderful moment in my life. I want to thank God.
“I want to hug my mother and then celebrate with my family. I am grateful to God for listening to our prayers.”
“We are very happy," added her husband Ashiq Masih in a statement via the Christian charity Aid to the Church in Need.
The former brickmaker said: “We thank God very much that he’s heard our prayers – and the prayers of so many people who have longed for Asia Bibi’s release over all these years of suffering and anguish.”'
Read more: Christian woman Asia Bibi spared death sentence in Pakistan after blasphemy conviction overturned
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