Aasia Bibi’s death sentence stayed by the Supreme Court
Pakistani Christian Aasia Bibi’s death sentence for blasphemy allegations stayed by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
A three-member bench of the Lahore Supreme Court has granted leave to appeal to Aasia Bibi and stated that it is essential to examine her case for administration of justice.
The Supreme Court has also suspended the decision of the High Court which had upheld her death sentence granted from the lower court.
The court raised an objection over the 11-day- delay in filing the appeal. However, it said that this objection would be taken up in the next hearing of the case. The court also asked if Bibi is in jail.
Aasia Bibi, 49, – a mother of five – has been behind bars for the last six years, and was once attacked.
According to she is still suffering from medical issues.
Bibi has been on death row since November 2010 when she was found guilty by the lower court of making blasphemous remarks during an argument with a Muslim woman working on the same fields.
Bibi was represented by her lawyer Mr Saiful Malook, her husband Ashiq Masih was also present in the court while CLAAS’s lawyers Tahir Bashir and Rubina were also present in the court.
CLAAS has been representing Bibi in court in the past, and is still campaigning for her release.
Nasir Saeed, Director CLAAS-UK, said that although today was a preliminary hearing, the suspension of the high court’s death sentence is a relief.
” I believe that justice will be done by the Supreme Court and soon she will be freed.
“The misuse of the blasphemy law is widespread in Pakistan and people are using this law to settle personal scores and here are many innocent people who are suffering and languishing in prions for years because of its continuous misuse, while several people have been killed by vigilantes.”
In 2011, two high profile politicians – the then Governor of Punjab Salmaan Taseer and the only Christian minister Shahbaz Bhatti were killed by extremists.
But the government still failed to bring changes or at least introduce safeguards to stop the misuse of this controversial law.
“The world seems concerned about the misuse of the blasphemy law and there are several Pakistani and non-Pakistani organisation who are campaigning for its repeal,” concluded Mr Saeed.