Sunday, October 19, 2014

Pakistan Appeals Court Upholds Christian Woman's Death Sentence For Blasphemy

In Pakistan on Thursday, in a high-profile case a 2-judge panel of the High Court in Lahore upheld the death sentence on blasphemy charges that had been imposed in 2010 on a Christian woman, Asia Bibi.  Morning Star News and World Watch Monitor carry extensive reports on the decision. The charges against Bibi (who is also known as Aasiya Noreen) grew out of her alleged response to Muslim co-workers in a berry field who told her to convert to Islam after one of the workers insisted that Bibi had made the water she brought to them impure by touching it. An appeal to the Supreme Court is planned, but it will probably not be heard for at least three years.  Death sentences are rarely actually carried out in blasphemy cases in Pakistan, though the accused and their lawyers are often victims of vigilante violence.  Concern continues over Bibi's safety even as she is held in prison. In 2011, Salman Taseer, governor of Punjab province, was assassinated by one of his own security guards who was angered by Taseer's support for a pardon for Bibi. (See prior posting.)