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“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Asia Bibi

 

Asia Bibi is a Catholic mother of five and was a farmhand from the village of Ittan Wali in Sheikhupura District of Punjab province.  In June 2009, an argument arose with her fellow labors over whether the water she brought was “unclean” because she was Christian and they Muslim.  Later coworkers complained to a cleric that Bibi made derogatory comments about Prophet Muhammad.  Police investigated her remarks, which resulted in her arrest and prosecution under Section 295 C of the Pakistan Penal Code for blasphemy.  She spent more than a year in jail. On November 8, 2010, a district court in Nankana Sahib, Punjab, sentenced her to death for blasphemy, the first such sentence for blasphemy handed down against a woman.  The death penalty is permissible under Pakistani law.  On October 16, 2014, the Lahore High Court dismissed her appeal and upheld her death sentence. Her lawyers plan to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Advocate: Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-PA, Ret.)

Updates:

  • Fears grow for Asia Bibi after Mumtaz Qadri's hanging Activists fear for Asia Bibi following the execution of Mumtaz Qadri, the man responsible for the 2011 assassination of Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer. Taseer was a critic of Pakistan's blamsphemy laws and a supporter of Bibi. Religious groups angered by Qadri's hanging are now renewing demands for Bibi's immediate execution. (March 5, 2016, The Express Tribune). 
  • Pakistan's Supreme Court is set to hear the final appeal in the second week of October. This appeal is Bibi's last chance to escape execution, aside from a Presidential pardon. Christian and international groups are ramping up their support, calling for reforms to the blashemy laws. (August 26, 2016, Christian Daily). 
  • Asia Bibi's death sentence appeal delayed again by Pakistan Supreme Court (May 2, 2017, The Christian Post).