Earlier this week, news broke that Pakistan’s Supreme Court has decided to hold the final hearing for Asia Bibi, a Christian woman accused of blasphemy. After spending 6 years on Pakistan’s death row, Bibi’s case has gained international attention. In 2009, Bibi was accused of committing blasphemy after getting into a conflict with Muslim coworkers. The conflict started when Bibi’s Muslim coworkers became angry when Bibi, a Christian whom they consider unclean, drank from the “Muslim” drinking bowl. Will this final appeal finally find Bibi innocent?
8/25/2016 Pakistan (ICN) – Asia Bibi, a 51-year-old Pakistani Christian women sentenced to death after drinking water meant for her Muslim colleagues, will have her appeal heard by Pakistan’s Supreme Court in the second week of October. The date was confirmed to International Christian Concern and it is the final legal avenue available to avoid execution. Bibi was accused of blasphemy after the incident in June 2009. In November 2010 she was sentenced to death. There has been international pressure calling for the release of the mother of five.
Bibi is Pakistan’s most famous blasphemy law victim. She was working as a farmhand in fields with other women seven years ago when she was asked to fetch drinking water. However, some of the other women – all Muslims – refused to drink water brought by a Christian because it was “unclean”. A row ensued. A few days later Asia Bibi was set upon by a mob in her village near Sheikupura in Pakistan and accused of defaming the Prophet Muhammad. The police were called and took her to a police station for her own safety. She has been in custody ever since, for after the police saved her life they registered a blasphemy case against her. She was sentenced to death by hanging in November 2010 after spending more than a year in a Pakistani prison.
After a failed appeal at the Lahore High Court in October 2014, many thought freedom was beyond Asia Bibi. However, in a pre-trial hearing at Pakistan’s Supreme Court on 22 July 2015, the court suspended her death sentence, permitting an appeal. In her forthcoming appeal Asia will ask the court to reconsider deficiencies in the case which include poor investigation and manipulated evidence by the local police.