Aasia Bibi makes final appeal on death row conviction

By AFP
Published: November 24, 2014
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Aasia Bibi. PHOTO: REUTERS

Aasia Bibi. PHOTO: REUTERS

LAHORE: A Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy filed an appeal in the country’s top court on Monday, her final legal recourse after being found guilty of insulting the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) four years ago.

A high court in Lahore confirmed the death sentence of Aasia Bibi last month, dashing hopes the conviction might be overturned or commuted to a jail term.

She has been on death row since November 2010 after being convicted of insulting the holy prophet (pbuh) during an argument with a Muslim woman over a bowl of water.

“On behalf of Aasia Bibi I have today filed an appeal in the Supreme Court,” defence attorney Saiful Malook told AFP.

Malook said that in the petition his client has asked the court to reconsider deficiencies in the case including allegedly manipulated evidence and a delay between the time of the incident and its investigation by police.

Malook added that the blasphemy allegation was concocted by Bibi’s enemies to target her and had no basis in fact.

“We expect an early hearing of the appeal and hope that the proceedings will be over in one year,” he added.

The allegations against Bibi date back to June 2009, when she was labouring in a field and a row broke out with some Muslim women she was working with.

She was asked to fetch water, but the Muslim women objected, saying that as a non-Muslim she was unfit to touch the water bowl.

A few days later the women went to a local cleric and put forward the blasphemy allegations.

Bibi’s husband has also written to President Mamnoon Hussain to ask for her to be pardoned and allowed to move to France.

“We are convinced that Aasia will only be saved from being hanged if the venerable President (Mamnoon) Hussain grants her a pardon. No one should be killed for drinking a glass of water,” husband Ashiq Masih wrote in an open letter dated November 17 and published by the New York Times.

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo has said the couple are welcome in the city.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Nov 24, 2014 - 6:17PM

    We the common people of Pakistan are very sorry. The coward government and the judiciary are scared. The anarchists and fake revolutionary thugs are busy building a new Pakistan in which you are not needed.

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  • Abdulaleem
    Nov 24, 2014 - 8:08PM

    I wish we carry out proper investigation of this case. In case the allegations prove to be wrong, i wish we punish all those who level baseless allegations against innocent people

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  • Mary
    Nov 25, 2014 - 3:17AM

    This is a very sad situation, and talks tons about the judicial system in Pakistan. I hope for the sake of the country’s reputation upon the world, this change.

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  • Eileen JONES
    Nov 28, 2014 - 10:01PM

    This is not justice and brings shame upon the whole nation of Pakistan. How can such trivial a incident, and the word of one person, be used to imprison a mother of young children for five years and produce a death sentence? It is nonsense and sheer bigotry at work because she is a Christian believer, in the minority, and the majority is powerful.

    Why such vindictiveness?

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  • Elspeth
    Jan 31, 2015 - 4:53PM

    There was no blasphemy law during the early (most righteous) period of Islam. This law should be repealed. Islam is in no danger from blasphemers. If, anything, such blasphemy laws are a danger to Islam and to every decent, intelligent muslims! Throw out the mullahs who have hijacked our religion and made it harsh and retrograde. Where has the soft religion of peace, modernity, equality and thirst for knowledge gone?

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  • zainab
    Feb 4, 2015 - 1:34PM

    this is so so sad! we as Pakistanis feel ashamed that the situation has gone this far. this is one of the saddest stories in the annals of Pakistan. i just cannot get my head around this.

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