Blasphemy: Protest as court frees woman on death row

Clement Daniel with Agency report
Clement Daniel with Agency report
Blasphemy: Asia Bibi released, protected
Asia Bibi

Hardliners opposed to the acquittal of a Christian woman convicted over alleged case blasphemy, Asia Bibi, who has been on a death row, by a Pakistani court, have begun a protest.

The protesters are in support of blasphemy laws.

Already, there is a heavy police presence at the Supreme Court in Islamabad with many afraid that there may be breakdown of law and order.

A Pakistani court, according to British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC, report, overturned the death sentence of Bibi who was convicted of blasphemy.

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The case has caused a division in the country.

Bibi was convicted in 2010 after being accused of insulting the Prophet Muhammad in a row with her neighbours.

She has however denied the allegation and been in solitary confinement for about eight years.

In the judgement, Chief Justice Saqib Nisarm, said Asia Bibi could walk free from jail in Sheikupura, near Lahore, immediately if not wanted in connection with any other case.

Bibi was not in court when the verdict was given.

According to the BBC report, Bibi’s trial stems from an she had with a group of women in June 2009.

They were harvesting fruit when a row broke out about a bucket of water.

The women said that because she had used a cup, they could no longer touch it, as her faith had made it unclean.

Prosecutors alleged that in the row which followed, the women said Asia Bibi should convert to Islam and that she made three offensive comments about the Prophet Muhammad in response.

She was later beaten up at her home, during which her accusers say she confessed to blasphemy.

She was arrested after a police investigation.

The judges said the prosecution had “categorically failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt.”

The case was based on flimsy evidence, they said, and proper procedures had not been followed.

The alleged confession was delivered in front of a crowd “threatening to kill her.”

The ruling heavily referenced the Koran and Islamic history.

It ended with a quote from the Hadith, the collected sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, which calls for non-Muslims to be treated kindly.

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