14 March 2014

CLAAS’ Press Release

Aasia Bibi’s appeal due to finally be heard in court

Long awaited blasphemy case of Aasia Bibi is due to be heard soon Aasia Bibi was accused of blasphemy by her co-worker and has been languising in prison since 2009.

Four years after she was convicted and sentence to death, her appeal is due be heard by a double bench at the Lahore High Court on March 17.

Aasia has always denied that she defiled the name of the prophet Mohammed during an argument with Muslim co-workers, but was convicted following a trial. She was sentenced to death in 2010 and her case attracted national and international attention.

The former Governor of Punjab, Salmaan Taseer, was killed by his own guard Malik Mumtaz Qadri for supporting Aasia Bibi, branding the blasphemy laws “black” and demanding changes. Malik Mumtaz Qadri is still in prison and considered a hero of Islam by many.

Christian minister Shahbaz Bhatti was also killed for supporting her and demanding changes in the controversial blasphemy laws, which Christians consider the root cause of their persecution.

CLAAS PK Director, Joseph Francis, MBE said that Aasia’s case is fully supported by CLAAS and that he is hopeful that if there is no pressure on the judges by the extremists and the case is handled with care,
consideration, and due diligence with the judges being left free to take their decision, her conviction will be overturned.

CLAAS-UK Director Nasir Saeed said that it is not going to be easy for the judges as it is a very high profile case and the whole world will be watching. He added: “I pray that God will fill the hearts of the judges with boldness and courage and not allow fear to rule. I also hope that they follow the international norms and keep only justice in the forefront when reaching a decision. Mr. Saeed has also requested the worldwide Church of Jesus Christ to unite remember the judges and lawyers in their prayers, asking that justice is done.