The Pakistani Supreme Court will issue its decision on the appeal of Christian mom Asia Bibi’s conviction and death sentence for blasphemy tomorrow.
The decision is expected to come down overnight tonight and will determine if this Christian mom of five is set free or hanged for her Christian faith.
Pakistani media is reporting this afternoon:
The Supreme Court of Pakistan is set to announce much awaited judgment in Aasia Bibi case on Wednesday.
The top court reserved its ruling on October 8 on the accused’s plea against her conviction.
The 51-year-old Christian woman has been on the death row since November 2010 after she was convicted on charges of committing blasphemy during an argument with two Muslim women in Sheikhupura.
Her case gained prominence after then Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer pleaded for a retrial of her case and was subsequently shot dead by one of his guards, Mumtaz Qadri, in January, 2011.
In October 2014, the Lahore High Court upheld Aasia’s death sentence. However, in July 2015, the SC stayed the execution.
As we reported two weeks ago:
After years of delays, seven years and eleven months to the day after she was sentenced to death by hanging for her Christian faith, Christian mom Asia Bibi has finally had her appeal heard by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
A three-member panel of the Supreme Court of Pakistan consisting of Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel heard arguments in Asia Bibi’s case yesterday. Asia was arrested in June 2009 and sentenced to death in 2010 for blaspheming the Prophet Muhammad’s name.
Asia Bibi was arrested in 2009 and convicted in 2010 under section 295-C of Pakistan’s penal code that punishes blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad with the death penalty. Asia was accused of speaking disparagingly about the Prophet but her real crime was that she offered water to Muslim co-workers who believed Asia had made the water ceremonially unclean by drinking from the same cup. They asked her to convert to Islam, which Asia refused. After five days of this argument between the women, a Muslim cleric lodged a complaint against Asia after a mob of Muslims beat her and forced her to confess.
According to the Supplementary Cause List, the highest court in the land is set to announce its verdict Wednesday morning Pakistani time. This is probably one of the most awaited decisions involving religious persecution. The entire world is watching what Pakistan will do.
While there are hundreds of Christians, Ahmadis, Hindus, and even Muslims who have spent long prison terms and many have been killed by religious extremists, the government of Pakistan has never executed anyone for blasphemy.
At the Supreme Court hearing earlier this month – a hearing our legal team on the ground in Pakistan attended – Asia Bibi’s defense attorney in Pakistan called much of the prosecution’s evidence – or lack thereof – into question.
Given the probing questions from the Justices during arguments on appeal and Pakistan’s history of never executing a death sentence in a blasphemy case, the only reason for the Supreme Court to uphold Asia’s conviction would be the extreme pressure from Islamic groups that has currently engulfed the country, including threats against the Justices.
We have been aggressively advocating across the globe for Asia Bibi’s freedom for years. We’ve been demanding the world act to help free her. We’ve presented Asia Bibi’s plight to the U.N. to urge intervention. We’ve sent legal letters directly to Pakistan, demanding her immediate release. But now she needs your voice.
We are closely following the court’s actions, and will update you as soon as we are able. We must not allow Asia Bibi to be put to death for her Christian faith. Join us in taking action.
We’re mobilizing our offices worldwide to fight for Christian mom Asia Bibi’s freedom. Support our work and make a huge impact today.
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