Asia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death for allegedly committing blasphemy, will have her final appeal heard today.
The hearing before the Supreme Court of Islamabad is the third and final stage of a trial that began in 2009, with the woman’s death sentence upheld in 2014 following an initial appeal.
Islamic radical groups have organised protest demonstrations in Islamabad’s streets and outside the Supreme Court building.
According to Joseph Nadeem, who is assisting Asia Bibi’s family and is in charge of Lahore’s Renaissance Education Foundation, where Asia Bibi’s daughters are studying, “Asia is well, her morale is high. She is full of hope. She prays constantly and is very strong-spirited despite the long ordeal she has been through.”
The blasphemy accusation against Bibi is based on flimsy evidence from a dispute that took place in June 2009 between Bibi and a group of Muslim women with whom she had been harvesting berries in Sheikhupura. The Muslim women became angry with Bibi when she, a Christian whom they considered unclean, drank water from the same water bowl as the Muslim women. An argument between Bibi and the Muslim women ensued and later the Muslim women reported to a local cleric that Bibi had blasphemed against Islam.
Sources: International Christian Concern, La Stampa