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PAKISTAN: Asia Bibi In Court

ICC Note:

VOM reports on the latest in a persecuted Christian’s trial

10/20/09 Pakistan (VOM)—On Oct. 14, Asia Bibi appeared in court, in Sheikhupura, Pakistan and spent some time with her family before the court appearance.

Asia’s husband, Ashiq Masih, her daughters and VOM contacts met her for 15 minutes before the court appearance. “Asia is in strong faith. Her eyes were hopeful. Praise God,” VOM contacts said. Asia told VOM contacts she prays everyday at 3 a.m. “I thank God that the jail administration has good behavior with me,” she said. “I don’t have trouble from them, but I miss my daughters and family. Please arrange my soon release from this jail,” Asia told VOM contacts.

Asia was arrested by police on Friday, June 19, and charged with blasphemy. Her family is one of only three Christian families in a village of more than 1,500 families.

On June 19, there was an intense discussion among the women about their faith. The Muslim women told Asia about Islam. Asia responded by telling the Muslim women that Christ died on the cross for our sins, and then asked them what Mohammed had done for them, according to VOM sources. She told them Jesus is alive, but Mohammed is dead. “Our Christ is the true prophet of God,” she reportedly told them, “and yours is not true.”

Upon hearing this response the Muslim women became angry and began to beat Asia Bibi. Then some men came and took her and locked her in a room. They announced from mosque loudspeakers that she would be punished by having her face blackened and being paraded through the village on a donkey.

Local Christians informed the police, who took Asia into custody before the Muslims could carry out their plan. She is currently being held at the police station in Nankana city. Christians there urged the police not to file blasphemy charges, but police claimed that they must go forward due to the pressure from local Muslim leaders.

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