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Christian Mom Aasia Bibi to Appeal Death Sentence for Blasphemy

A Pakistani Christian mother-of-five sentenced to death for blasphemy will appeal her sentence in an effort to escape a widely-condemned judgment.
Image: Pakistani Christian woman Asia Bibi
Pakistani Christian Asia Bibi, a mother of five, was sentenced to death for blasphemy in 2010. Family photo via Reuters

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — A Pakistani Christian mother-of-five who was sentenced to death for blasphemy will appeal her sentence in a last-ditch effort to escape a judgment that has been condemned around the world. It was “a victory in itself to get a hearing for this appeal, as no judge was interested judging this case,” said Sardar Mushtaq Gill, Aasia Bibi’s lawyer, referring to the Thursday decision. The 46-year-old was convicted in 2010 of making derogatory remarks about the Islamic Prophet Muhammad during an argument with coworkers at a farm in the Punjab province, home to most of the country’s four million Christians.

Bibi’s case triggered international condemnation when she received her verdict in 2010. In 2011, two prominent Pakistani politicians, governor Salman Taseer and minister Clement Shahbaz Bhatti, were assassinated for defending her. Since then, her lawyer claims, all criminal cases pending from 2010 have been heard, except hers. “There was pressure on the court”, said Gill. “It was obvious from the beginning. They were not listening to our arguments. We almost didn’t get a date of hearing.”


- Wajahat S. Khan