When sister Frances Farrugia visits prisoners in Pakistani police cells to hear them out and help them access a lawyer, she makes sure to go alone. 

"If their relatives are nearby I tell them to stay at home," the Dominican nun says. "I make sure my face is the only one they [the jailers] see."

Visiting Pakistani prisons, convincing lawyers to take on humanitarian cases and helping released prisoners return to their homes is hardly the sort of thing you'd expect a softly-spoken nun from Qormi to be doing. 

But Sr Frances is not the kind to let an injustice just slide. 

"My blood boils. Injustice leaves me restless," she admits. 

In this Times Talk interview, Sr Frances talks about her work in Pakistan, from helping impoverished communities access clean water and sanitation to leaping to the defence of people wrongly accused of breaching Pakistan's controversial blasphemy law. 

"I go to the police station and seek permission to speak to them in person, so I can hear their side of the story myself," she says. "Then I talk to lawyers I know, and they give me legal advice which I can pass on to the prisoner."

When things go according to plan, the prisoners are declared innocent and freed. But with prisoners often jailed thousands of kilometres away from their homes, Sr Frances still has her work cut out. 

"I quickly get a copy of their court documents and make sure they get on a train back to their home that same night," she says. "They disguise themselves and move on, otherwise they risk being persecuted again."   

To find out how you can help Sr Frances in her work, get in touch with the Dominican Sisters in Rabat by calling 21454893.



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