Pakistani Christian mother of five Asia Bibi is spending her seventh Christmas in prison after her death sentence appeal was put on hold in October when a judge abruptly recused himself from hearing her case.
Bibi, 45, was sentenced to death in 2010 on allegations of blasphemy after two Muslim co-workers accused her of insulting the Muslim prophet Muhammad, something which she denies.
Bibi’s blasphemy allegation stems from an altercation in June 2009 that she had with a group of Muslim women in the town of Sheikhupura in the Punjab province. As the women were picking berries, the Muslim women became enraged when Bibi drank from the same water bowl that they women drank out of.
Since Bibi was a Christian, the women considered her unclean. After an argument between the women ensued, the Muslim women went to the police and accused Bibi of saying something along the lines of “My Christ died for me, what did Muhammad do for you?”
Bibi was supposed to find out in October at a final appeal hearing at Pakistan’s Supreme Court whether or not she would be executed, but that decision was delayed indefinitely after one of the senior judges, who was set to preside over her appeal, suddenly resigned.
Local media said that Justice Iqbal Hameed recused himself from the case without giving a specific reason.
William Stark, a regional manager for South Asia for International Christian Concern, which advocates for persecuted Christians around the world, said in a phone interview with The Christian Post that Bibi’s struggle is “the premier case for why blasphemy laws are a problem.”
Bibi’s case, as it now stands, is in what he calls a “wait-and-see” period.
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SOURCE: The Christian Post