Barnabas Fund - International Headquarters River Street, Pewsey, Wilthire. Phone: +44 1672 565030 Latitude: 51 deg 23 min 18 sec N Longitude: 1 deg 45 min 48 sec W .
Long wait on death row for Aasia Bibi as...

Email:

Long wait on death row for Aasia Bibi as appeal stalls

To

Email address:
Separate multiple addresses with a comma (,). Maximum of 10

From

Your name:
Your email address:
Security test:
Please enter the numbers that appear here in the box below.
refresh captcha
CAPTCHA Image
Security code:

Details provided here will never be used in any other context

Long wait on death row for Aasia Bibi as appeal stalls

Country/Region: Pakistan, South and East Asia

Aasia Bibi, a Christian mother who is on death row in Pakistan falsely accused of blasphemy, may be left languishing in jail for years awaiting an appeal of her case.

asia_bibi_4X3.jpg
Aasia Bibi

She has already been behind bars for over two years since she was accused of making derogatory remarks about Muhammad in June 2009. Aasia was sentenced to death last November in a highly controversial case that threw an international spotlight on Pakistan’s "blasphemy laws", which are frequently used against Christians and other non-Muslims.

An appeal was lodged before the Lahore High Court, and Aasia was expected to be executed in November if it failed. But now lawyers associated with the case have indicated that the hearing is unlikely to be held any time soon for a host of reasons.

There is a five-year backlog of cases; the Lahore High Court is only now hearing review petitions filed in 2006-2007. Although the chief justice has the authority to bring forward a priority hearing, a lawyer in Lahore, who filed Aasia’s review petition, said this did not appear to be happening in her case.

Islamist pressure

This has arguably been the most controversial case in the country’s recent legal history, and there is likely to be considerable pressure on the court when the appeal is heard. Aasia’s plight prompted calls for amendments to the blasphemy laws, and the Pakistan Government initially made noises about a review. But it was forced to retreat by an aggressive Islamist backlash. There were widespread public protests, and two high-profile politicians, Punjab Governor Salman Taseer and Government Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, who defended Aasia and called for reform, were shot dead by militants.

The court may therefore want to hold off hearing the case until the furore over it has died down.

Then there is the question of who would be willing to defend Aasia in court given that her other advocates have been murdered. The lawyer who filed the review petition is unsure whether or not he would be able to pursue the case. He said that the assassinations of Governor Taseer and Mr Bhatti frightened all those who initially supported Aasia; they fear that even speaking in her favour would put their own lives at risk.

Under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, "defiling the name of Muhammad" carries a mandatory death sentence, though no-one has yet been executed for the offence; most of those convicted of blasphemy have their sentences overturned or reduced on appeal, when it eventually comes to court. But, since 1990, at least ten Pakistanis accused of blasphemy have been killed by zealous Muslims while their cases were being considered.

Help us: Share this article

Email:

Long wait on death row for Aasia Bibi as appeal stalls

To

Email address:
Separate multiple addresses with a comma (,). Maximum of 10

From

Your name:
Your email address:
Security test:
Please enter the numbers that appear here in the box below.
refresh captcha
CAPTCHA Image
Security code:

Details provided here will never be used in any other context

christian, persecution, charity, church, persecuted, sookhdeo, Islam

Other articles

Follow Barnabas

or

receive news & appeal emails as they are published

From Twitter

From Twitter_icon
  • Christians driven out of Maaloula by Islamist rebels long to return after its recapture by the Syrian army http://ow.ly/vTrgN Thu, Apr 2014 16:37

  • Islamic parties make unexpected gains in Indonesian elections http://ow.ly/vR60m Wed, Apr 2014 16:46

  • Former counter-terrorism chief to lead inquiry into alleged Islamist takeover of Birmingham schools http://ow.ly/vOn9I Tue, Apr 2014 17:01

  • Condemned Christian mother Aasia Bibi's appeal hearing- set for today- deferred for third time in Pakistan http://ow.ly/vLEkf Mon, Apr 2014 16:03

Daily prayer

Daily prayer_icon
  • Violent attacks by militants from the Islamist group Boko Haram continue unabated in Northern Nigeria. On one horrendous day of violence on 26 January, at least 138 people were killed. A church in Wada Chakawa village in Adamawa state was targeted; the attackers locked the congregation inside and then detonated bombs, shooting and cutting the throats of people who tried to escape. They then went on a four-hour rampage in the village. Later the same day, Kawuri village in neighbouring Borno state was burned to the ground. Boko Haram is fighting to establish an Islamic state, and Christians are among its main targets. Pray that the Nigerian authorities will succeed in containing its insurgency. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 16 hours ago

  • Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we give You thanks on this Easter Day for the living hope that You have given us and all Your people through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (1 Peter 1:3). We pray that the prospect of an enduring inheritance and future salvation will encourage our persecuted brothers and sisters to persevere in their faith, whatever may happen to them. We pray that we too may be sustained by this hope in the sufferings that we experience for the sake of Christ. We ask that the joy and resurrection power of the Lord will give strength and peace to persecuted believers today and every day. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Give thanks for the Christ-like responses of Christian leaders in CAR to the crisis that threatens them and their churches. They have distanced themselves from the anti-balaka militias, saying that these should not be labelled as Christian and that they hold no mandate from the churches. The leaders have also condemned the violence in the country, whatever its origin, and have called on Christians to pursue forgiveness, reconciliation and healing. Churches are hiding, defending and caring for thousands of Muslims endangered by the anti-balaka, and one of CAR’s most senior church leaders has invited the president of the country’s Islamic community to move into his church compound. Pray that this powerful witness to the grace and love of Christ will help to bring peace to the shattered country. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sat, Apr 2014 00:00

  • On this Good Friday, give thanks to God for the death of Christ and for His gift of eternal life. Praise Him too for the example of those Christians who have persevered in their faith at the risk of their lives and who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of Christ and the Gospel. Pray that their martyrdom will inspire their suffering brothers and sisters in Christ to endure whatever hardships befall them and will convince their persecutors of the truth and power of the Gospel. Pray too that their bereaved families and churches will not grieve without hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Fri, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Cry out to the Lord for Christians in the Central African Republic (CAR) who have been driven from their homes by the violence that has engulfed their country. Attacks by Islamist Séléka militants and retaliation from “anti-balaka” militias has generated a huge humanitarian crisis in which around two million people, many of them Christians, are in need of emergency assistance. Give thanks for the work of Barnabas partners who have been providing food rations to hundreds of displaced believers in the capital, Bangui, and distributing food, medicines, clothing and seeds to thousands in various regions. Pray that the aid will reach those who need it most, and that the Lord will comfort the relatives and friends of the thousands who have been killed in the fighting. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Thu, Apr 2014 00:00

© Barnabas Fund 1997 - 2014 All rights reserved.
Barnabas Fund & Barnabas Aid are registered trade marks