Asia Bibi | Pakistan
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Asia Bibi, 38, was arrested by police on allegations of blasphemy in the village of Ittanwali, Punjab province. On June 19, 2009, some Muslim women who work with Bibi on a farm owned by a local Muslim engaged in a heated discussion with Bibi about Islam. Bibi told them that Christ died on the cross for their sins and asked them what Mohammed had done for them. “Our Christ is the true prophet of God and yours is not true,” Bibi said. The Muslim women became angry and began to beat her. Some men then locked her in a room. Local Christians urged the police not to file blasphemy charges; however, police claimed that they must go forward due to pressure from local Muslim leaders.
On November 8, 2010, Bibi was sentenced to death. She is the first Pakistani woman ever to receive a death sentence for blasphemy. Her attorney has filed an appeal. In December 2010, a hard-line cleric offered a $6,000 CAD reward to anyone who will kill Asia Bibi if the government does not put her to death. In January 2011, the governor of Punjab province was assassinated by his bodyguard for speaking out against the blasphemy law. In March 2011, Pakistan’s Minister of Minority Affairs, Shahbaz Bhatti, a Christian, was assassinated as he also had spoken out against the country’s blasphemy law.
Asia Bibi was transferred to a new prison in June 2013, leaving her five hours away from her family. She was previously only an hour away. Her husband, Ashiq, met her on June 6, 2013. She again requested prayer, and told her husband she’s been sick and in a lot of pain. Asia continues to await word on her appeal against her blasphemy sentence.
Update – February 2018
VOM staff spoke with Asia Bibi’s lawyer this week, and he reported that she is healthy and in good spirits in the Multan jail. She’s alone in the prison, and a female prison guard is with her at all times, both to keep watch over her and to provide security for her. Her lawyer reports that he is working with the court registrar to fix a new hearing date
Source: Prisoner Alert
A Year Later, No Change – July 2016
A year after Asia Bibi’s death sentence was overturned, she remains in prison on charges of blasphemy.
In July 2015, the Pakistani Supreme Court overturned her death sentence and ordered a full review of her case. However, twelve months later no further progress has been made. Asia Bibi’s husband and two daughters continue to hope she will be released. The family continues to get threats from Muslim militants.
Supreme Court Hearing Delayed – Oct. 2016
This morning, the scheduled court hearing for Asia Bibi was once again delayed, when one of the presiding judges recused himself. Justice Iqbal Hameed-ur-Rehman stated a conflict of interest.
Thousands of police had been deployed in Islamabad in anticipation of the hearing, as many Islamists threatened to riot if Asia’s death sentence was overturned. For her safety, Asia was not in the courtroom, but her husband and various supporters were, including VOM staff. As of today, a new date has not been set.
Central Jail Multan
Time in prison:
In prison for 2848 days.
Asia Bibi is married and is the mother of three girls.
Accused of “blasphemy” and insulting Muhammad, a charge she denies. Sentenced to death.
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