New user? Register here:
Email Address:
Password:
Retype Password:
First Name:
Last Name:
Existing user? Login here:
 
 
World >

Charity questions Asia Bibi blasphemy case adjournment

Hattie Williams

by Hattie Williams

Posted: 21 Oct 2016 @ 12:08

BCPA

Click to enlarge

Worldwide concern: Christians of Pakistani origin and supporters demonstrate in Sydney on 8 October, prior to Asia Bibi's latest trial adjournment. During the protests, Wilson Chowdry, Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, led a delegation to the Pakistan Consulate in Sydney, where a petition calling for Asia Bibi to be freed was submitted. The electronic petition can still be signed, here: http://www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/justice4asia

Credit: BCPA

Worldwide concern: Christians of Pakistani origin and supporters demonstrate in Sydney on 8 October, prior to Asia Bibi's latest trial adjournment. During the protests, Wilson Chowdry, Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, led a delegation to the Pakistan Consulate in Sydney, where a petition calling for Asia Bibi to be freed was submitted. The electronic petition can still be signed, here: http://www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/justice4asia

THE charity Release International has questioned the decision of the Supreme Court in Pakistan to adjourn the final appeal of a Christian woman, Asia Bibi, who has been on death row since 2009, accused of blasphemy.

Mrs Bibi, a farm labourer, was the first woman to be sentenced to death for blasphemy against the prophet Muhammad — which she denies — after an argument with her Muslim co-workers (News, 19 November 2010). The labourers reportedly refused to drink the water she had brought for them because they considered her, as a Christian, to be unclean.

The Supreme Court was due to hear her final appeal this month (News, 30 September). But one of the judges stepped down last week, citing a possible conflict of interest. A new date for the hearing has not yet been set.

Judge Iqbal Hameed ur Rehman reportedly told the court that he had been involved in the case of Salmaan Taseer, a liberal governor of Punjab province, who was murdered by his bodyguard in Islamabad in 2011 after publicly supporting Mrs Bibi (Comment, Press, 14 January 2011).

“It seems strange to pull out on the day of the appeal,” the chief executive of Release International, Paul Robinson, said. “Surely any potential conflict of interest would have been known in advance?” The charity, which is pressing for Mrs Bibi’s acquittal, has condemned Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, which, it says, have resulted in the death of 60 people since 1990.

Riots broke out across the capital of Islamabad in response to the adjournment, and about 3000 security personnel were called in to protect the court last week. “What is clear is that it will take immense courage to withstand intimidation and release Asia Bibi,” Mr Robinson said. “The blasphemy laws are being used to fuel the flames of intolerance. That’s why they must be repealed.”

Zohra Yusuf, who chairs the independent Human Rights Commission in Pakistan, told the news agency AFP that the delay was “regrettable”, and suggested that the judges had realised that they “may be putting their own lives on the line” if they acquitted Mrs Bibi.

Assassination threats have been made against Mrs Bibi, and her family have been forced into hiding.

Job of the week

Member of the Archbishops Council Audit Committee

London and Home Counties

  MEMBER OF THE ARCHBISHOPS' COUNCIL AUDIT COMMITTEE Contract Type: Initial term of office - 5 years (with possibility of re-appointment) The Archbishops' Council provides a focus for leader...  Read More

Signup for job alerts
Top feature

Retreat house is a family affair

Retreat house is a family affair

Christine Miles takes a six-year-old and a toddler on a half-term break to Scargill, and finds that it offers something for everyone  Subscribe to read more

Top comment

A joint commitment to our neighbours overseas

To mark Christian Aid Week, the leaders of the three main political parties write exclusively for the Church Times on the importance of international development  Read More

Tue 23 May 17 @ 20:03
.@simonjenks offers a satirical take on some of the weird & wonderful ways in which Christians express their beliefs https://t.co/thkwvIldXq

Tue 23 May 17 @ 17:30
.@SpurgeonsUK children’s charity is rekindling the memory of its founder, discovers Pat Ashworth https://t.co/4mHNOiupDK