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ICC Note:

Yesterday, September 13, Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman on death row for allegedly committing blasphemy, was nominated to received the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought by the European Union. Bibi, who remains on death row with her case set to be heard by Pakistan’s Supreme Court, is one of the most recognizable victims of the abuse of blasphemy laws in the world. In 2009, Bibi was accused of blaspheming against Islam after she had a dispute with Muslim coworkers. Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws are widely abused and often used to settle personal scores or incite religious hatred. 

09/14/2017 Pakistan (BosNewsLife) – Pakistani Christian Asia Bibi who faces execution by hanging on controversial charges of ‘blasphemy against Islam’ has been nominated for the European Union’s prestigious Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought by an influential group of European legislators.

The European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECR), the third largest group in the European Parliament, nominated Bibi late Wednesday, September 13, for what is Europe’s most prestigious human rights, officials told BosNewsLife.

“Her case is a symbol for others hurt in their freedom of expression and especially freedom of religion,” said Dutch Euro-parliamentarian Peter van Dalen of ECR’s member faction Christen Union-SGP.

“It is good that my colleagues in the ECR and I continue to defend the rights of Bibi and many others,” he added in a statement to BosNewsLife.

If backed by a majority of the European Parliament in next month’s vote, Bibi could receive the 50,000 euro ($59,500) award, named after Soviet-era dissident and scientist Andrei Sakharov, on December 10 in Strasbourg, France.

The announcement came amid mounting international concern about the plight of Bibi, a married Christian mother of five.

Bibi, 48, has been in prison since 2009 after she reportedly told Muslim co-workers that Jesus Christ is alive. She made the remarks while working in the fields for a Muslim landowner, according to investigators.

“Our Christ sacrificed His life on the cross for our sins…Our Christ is alive,” she reportedly said. Bibi spoke amid a dispute with non-Christian colleagues when she attempted to drink water from a well owned by Muslim, Christians said.

Besides “insulting Prophet Muhammad” she was accused “of contaminating” the well by Muslims. She was charged with blasphemy and a lower court eventually sentenced her to death by hanging in 2010. After years of delays, the verdict was confirmed on in October 2014.

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