Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian mother of five who has spent seven years on death row due to blasphemy charges, has been nominated for a prestigious European Union religious freedom prize.
“Her case is a symbol for others hurt in their freedom of expression and especially freedom of religion,” Dutch Europarliamentarian Peter van Dalen of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group’s member faction ChristenUnion-SGP told BosNewsLife on Wednesday.
“It is good that my colleagues in the ECR and I continue to defend the rights of Bibi and many others.”
Bibi is now in the running for the $59,500 award that comes with the Sakharov Prize. The ceremony will be held on Dec. 10 in Strasbourg, France.
The mother’s ongoing legal saga began back in 2009, after Muslim co-workers accused her of blasphemy for praising Jesus Christ and allegedly insulting the Islamic prophet Muhammad.
Bibi denied the charge but was found guilty and sentenced to death in November 2010. Several appeals have since followed and the latest hearing, which Bibi’s attorney attempted to have scheduled for June, was delayed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar.
The Christian mother’s plight has drawn international attention and condemnation of Pakistan’s strict blasphemy laws by a variety of persecution watchdog and human rights groups.
SOURCE: Stoyan Zaimov