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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).
  • Bibi was among six nominees for the European Parliament's prestigious Sakharov Prize, which honors individuals and organizations defending human rights and fundamental freedoms (October 2, 2017, RFE/RL).
  • The European Union has informed the Pakistani government in no uncertain terms that a continuation of the GSP Plus facility would be linked to a positive outcome in Asia Bibi's case (January 24, 2018, Business Recorder).
  • Rome’s Colosseum was lit in red on Saturday in solidarity with persecuted Christians, particularly Asia Bibi. Bibi's husband and daughter, who were in attendance, had earlier met with Pope Francis, who told Bibi's daughter: “I think often of your mother and I pray for her.” (February 24, 2018, Reuters)
  • Members of the Scottish Parliament from the Freedom of Religion or Belief Cross-Party Group have written a letter to Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, urging him to stop the delays in the hearing of Asia Bibi's blasphemy case. (February 27, 2018, Pakistan Today)
  • In an interview with Deutsche Welle, Saif-ul-Malook, the lawyer of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death in 2010 for committing blasphemy, says while international support for Bibi is encouraging, he is not hopeful for clemency. (March 6, 2018, Deutsche Welle)
  • Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar has confirmed that a new hearing date for Asia Bibi’s appeal case against capital punishment will be announced. At the same time, Justice Saqiz Nisar also issued directives for full security provisions for Ms. Bibi. (April 23, 2018, Christians in Pakistan)