Supreme Court reserves verdict in Asia Bibi's final appeal against execution

Final Death Sentence Appeal Scheduled for Pakistani Christian Asia Bibi | Trending

Chowdhry commented: "News of her poor health and early signs of dementia are a paramount concern for our community, and the date of this appeal is very timely".

Bibi was first convicted of blasphemy by a lower court in 2010 and sentenced to death.

Ashiq, a builder from Sheikhupura, Pakistan, was in England with his and Bibi's youngest daughter, Eisham Ashiq, 18, as guests of Aid to the Church in Need, a Catholic charity helping persecuted Christians. The counsel replied that no such contention can be proved through the records. The complainant in this case Muslim cleric (Imam) in the Katanwala village claimed that Asia Bibi admitted that she committed blasphemy. Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel are also on the bench. "Many people are facing death threats and problems. They fear that any concession to Bibi, or any other blasphemy victim, might lead to amendments in the Islamic laws and open a door to the secularization of Pakistan". He added that the court will look at the investigation report in entirety.

"According to the prayer leader, a panchayat [to discuss the matter] was held in a house". The reason behind it was that the women had refused to drink water from the same dish as Asia.

The statements of the Muslim women, Asma and Isma, are contradictory, the lawyer said. "In such a situation, Section 295-C is inapplicable", the lawyer argued.

Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of five, has spent the last nine years in prison for a crime she didn't commit. There's mounting global pressure on Pakistan to free her. As described here, Pakistan's infamous blasphemy laws are often used explicitly to persecute Christians. After hearing arguments, the Supreme Court reserved its verdict in this case. The judge also remarked that the investigation proved that Aasia Bibi was humiliated for being a Christian. But in Pakistan, it has rallied radical Islamists and militant groups who have embraced Pakistan's controversial blasphemy law, using it to cultivate support and attack those who try to break their power. "It is not proved, and neither is there any such assertion in the FIR", he said, adding that this doesn't reach that level of evidence that is acceptable. The hearing represents her last chance at avoiding a death sentence for blasphemy, CNS said. For them, Bibi's case is seen as a watershed.

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Successive appeals against her conviction have failed. But if not, he planned to seek a review, which could take years to complete. "Having a very strong faith, she is ready and willing to die for Christ".

Bibi has been held in custody since June 2009 after her co-workers said that by drinking water meant for water she had made it ritually unclean. "During that argument, they exchanged harsh words", the lawyer said. She received Communion in jail on the day of their visit.

While Pakistan's laws carry the death penalty for blasphemy and offenders have been sentenced to death, no convict has been executed so far.

Salman Taseer, a former governor of the central Punjab province, spoke out on behalf of Asia Bibi and wanted to repeal Pakistan's blasphemy laws.

Bibi's supporters maintain her innocence and insist it was a personal dispute, and the Vatican has called for her release.

In October 2016, the top court took the appeal but had to adjourn the matter without hearing after one of the judges recused himself from the SC bench.

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