Pakistani Christian Asia Bibi has lost her appeal against a death sentence for blasphemy. The campaign to free the first Christian woman to face execution under Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws will now be taken to the Supreme Court.
The Lahore High Court rejected her appeal last Thursday, 16 October, and upheld the death sentence against her.
A representative of VOM Australia’s partner office in the UK, Release International, was in court. He says up to 25 Muslim teachers attended the hearing, possibly to increase pressure on the court to uphold the death sentence. The tactic of packing the court to intimidate judges is frequently used in blasphemy cases in the lower courts.
Asia, a farm labourer from Punjab, has been in custody since 2009. She was arrested after an argument with Muslim farm labourers who accused her of blaspheming against Islam’s prophet Mohammed. She denies the charge.
Asia was given the death sentence in November 2010. She has been on death row ever since. The news will come as a blow to campaigners who have maintained Asia’s innocence and have been pressing for the repeal of the blasphemy laws, which are often invoked just to settle personal scores.
Source: Release International
- Ask the Lord to strengthen and sustain Asia and her family through this latest disappointment; ask Him to give them an unwavering faith in the Lord’s purposes and a certainty of His presence.
- Ask the Lord to start preparing the hearts of those who will hear her case at the Supreme Court so they will be ready and willing to rule justly and ensure Asia’s release.
- Pray the Lord will strengthen the resolve of those who are trying to bring change to the country’s laws, ask Him to grant them wisdom, direction and favour. Pray He may use Asia’s situation for good.