The case of Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian prisoner whose case we have followed here and here, has now reached its most crucial stage thus far: her death sentence, for allegedly blaspheming the "prophet" Muhammad, is being fast-tracked for a hearing in the Pakistani Supreme Court. Christians are urged to continue in their prayers for this woman and her family.
From The Christian Post:
By Anugrah Kumar
October 19, 2014|7:30 am
The U.K.-based Christian
Solidarity Worldwide has called on Pakistan's Supreme Court to be prompt
in hearing the appeal of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman and mother of
five children whose death sentence for "blasphemy" was upheld by the
Lahore High Court this week.
CSW also called for proper security for Bibi, whose appeal was rejected by the Lahore High Court Thursday.
Christian mother has "endured grueling conditions in nearly four years
of detention on death row, much of it spent in solitary confinement,"
CSW said in a statement. "Her health has suffered and she has had severe
restrictions on visitors."
The Christian rights group explained
that her prolonged detention is partly due to security concerns, as
blasphemy law victims are often attacked by Islamist extremists. "There
has been a lack of progress in her case, with five hearings cancelled
this year alone, as well as the intimidation of judges and lawyers."
Bibi's lawyers have said they will now appeal the death sentence in the Supreme Court, which is the only hope.
are disappointed and terribly upset over the decision, however we look
forward to the appeal in the Supreme Court, with optimism and with the
hope that the Supreme Court of Pakistan will do justice in this case,"
Michelle Chaudhry, president of the Cecil & Iris Chaudhry
Foundation, was quoted as saying.
Bibi "has wrongly been convicted
of blasphemy," Chaudhry added. "We remain optimistic that the rule of
law will prevail and justice will be done. For now that is our only
Bibi was sentenced in 2010 following an incident the
previous year where she was harvesting berries with a group of Muslim
women in Sheikhupura. The Muslim women accused her of drinking from the
same water bowl as them, which was considered unclean as she is a
Christian. Following an argument, the women went to a local cleric and
told him that Bibi had blasphemed against Islam.
hearing was initially scheduled to take place on March 17, but was
delayed and rescheduled, before finally taking place Thursday.
are deeply disappointed by the decision of the Lahore High Court,"
CSW's Chief Operating Officer Andy Dipper said, calling the sentence "a
tragic reminder of the continued abuse of the dysfunctional blasphemy
laws and the underlying weaknesses in Pakistan's justice system."
problems of prejudice, inefficiency, corruption, and under-resourcing
are amplified in blasphemy cases, and even more so for religious
minorities," Dipper added. "The only hope she has for justice is when
the case is heard in the Supreme Court."
CSW urged Pakistan's
Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk to consider Bibi's case "with the utmost
urgency, and to ensure her safety both throughout and after the
The rights group pointed to a June 19 Supreme Court
judgment recommending the establishment of "a special bench to entertain
complaints of violations of fundamental rights of minorities in the
A proactive approach to providing justice for Bibi would
prove the Supreme Court's commitment to ensuring fundamental human
rights and justice for all citizens of Pakistan, it said.
Update on Asia Bibi (Mission Network News)
Lahore: Christian activists ask Supreme Court to deliver speedy justice for Asia Bibi (AsiaNews.it)
Pakistan court upholds Asia Bibi death sentence (BBC)
Persecuted Christian: Will Pakistan's Asia Bibi be killed for alleged blasphemy? (Fox News)