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Update: Pakistan Leader May Free Condemned Christian Woman


ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistani officials say the country's president may pardon a Christian woman facing a death sentence under laws on blasphemy against Islam.

The case of Asia Bibi has drawn appeals from Pope Benedict XVI and human rights groups to free her. Bibi, a mother of five, was sentenced earlier this month to death.

She told reporters at the prison Saturday that she is innocent and the case was merely a personal dispute.

Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan's minister for minority affairs, said Saturday that President Asif Ali Zardari has asked for a report on the case and has the power to pardon the woman.

Gov. Salman Taseer of Punjab province, where Bibi is held, told reporters in a televised conference he believes Zardari will soon pardon her.

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