Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian who had spent years on death row after being convicted of blasphemy in 2010, said Monday she was seeking political asylum from the French government.
"My big wish is to live in France," Bibi said in an interview with RTL Radio, her first trip to France since she and her family fled to Canada in 2018.
Your visit takes place a few weeks after the publication of your book "Enfin Libre!" (Finally free) in French last month, with an English version due in September.
"France is the country from which I got my new life … Anne-Isabelle is an angel to me," she said, referring to the French journalist Anne-Isabelle Tollet who had a long campaign for her release and later led for her release. wrote Bibi's book.
On Tuesday, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo will award an honorary citizenship certificate that Bibi was granted by the city in 2014 when she was still behind bars.
She said she hadn't planned to meet President Emmanuel Macron, but "of course I want the President to hear my request."
In her book, Bibi tells of the nightmare conditions she was subjected to in prison until her release in 2018, amid an international outcry about her treatment.
The acquittal triggered violent unrest in Pakistan with a Muslim majority, where Christians are often the target of persecution.
She later fled to Canada with her family, where she lived under police protection in an unknown location.
"Obviously, I am extremely grateful to Canada," said Bibi, adding that she now wanted to work hand in hand with Tollet to urge the Pakistani authorities to free others detained because of the country's anti-blasphemy laws are.
The allegations against Bibi date back to 2009 when Muslim field workers who worked next to her refused to share water because she was a Christian.
An argument broke out and a Muslim woman later went to a local cleric and accused Bibi of blasphemy against the Prophet Mohammed.
Despite her dramatic acquittal from Pakistan's chief judge, activists warned that freedom for Bibi would likely mean a life threatened by hardliners who have long claimed their death.
Last May, she was brought to Canada, where Tollet was the only reporter who had met with Bibi since her arrival.
In her book, Bibi tells of the humiliating and terrible conditions in prison and the daily agony that the country's Christian minority suffers from.
She also tells of the difficulty in adapting to her new life and the pain of having to go without seeing her father or other family members.
"Pakistan is my country. I love my country, but I am in exile forever," she wrote.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)