The death sentence on Asia Bibi, who was first found guilty of blasphemy in November 2010, was confirmed today by the Pakistani High Court.
She was defended by Christian lawyers including the Provincial Minister for Minorities Affairs and Human Rights, Tahir Khalil Sindhu. However, two judges – Justice Anwar Ul Haq and Justice Shahbaz Ali Rizvi – upheld the original sentence.
She has been supported in her long-running case by the Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS), an organisation working for persecuted Christians in Pakistan. CLAAS will submit a final appeal to the Supreme Court within the required 30 days, but the process could still last a number of years.
Nasir Saeed, director of CLAAS-UK said: “I am very disappointed with today’s result and my thoughts and prayers are with Asia’s family. It is not surprising that the judges were swayed by pressure from local influential Muslims, but I had hoped that justice would prevail and that the case would be judged based on its merits.
“While the rest of the world condemns such draconian laws, Pakistan continues to persecute its minorities simply because of their religion.
“I have to now remain hopeful that the Supreme Court judges will look at the case objectively and allow the final appeal, eventually acquitting Asia.”
SOURCE: Mark Woods