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Christian woman sentenced to death under Pakistan's blasphemy law, gets second chance

2015-07-23

Her name is Asia Bibi. The first woman to ever be sentenced to death in Pakistan under the country's blasphemy law

In late July, the court issued good news. She is still behind bars, but her execution has been suspended by the high courts, at least for now. 

MARTA PETROSILLO
Aid to the Church in Need 
"Something like this has never happened before, so it's definitely something positive. But this decision does not guarantee that her death sentence will be canceled.” 

Asia Bibi is Christian. She is a wife and mother.  She was arrested five years ago and was sentenced to death. 

MARTA PETROSILLO
Aid to the Church in Need 
"She was with her co-workers and she, a Christian woman, offered them something to drink out of the same cup she can drank from. A discussion followed and the very next day these Muslim women accused her of insulting Prophet Mohamed. Even though there was no proof, she was sentenced to death.” 

Eisham is the youngest of five siblings. She was only nine years old,  when her mother was arrested. 

EISHAM ASHIQ
Daughter of Asia Bibi
"Now, after all this, I ask you to pray for my mother, for my family, for her freedom and the freedom of all Christians.”

Asia Bibi's case gained international attention and perhaps that is why judges granted her an appeal. Often times, the victims aren't just those behind bars, but the entire neighborhood. 


MARTA PETROSILLO
Aid to the Church in Need 
"When a 26 year old Christian man was accused of blasphemy, his entire neighborhood was burnt down. What's incredible is that 80 percent of those accused of the fire, were set free afterwards.” 

Religious minorities make up about two percent of Pakistan's population. Even so, they account for 50 percent of the blasphemy law cases. No proof is needed. A simple accusation is enough to get arrested and perhaps sentenced to death. 

Asia Bibi's appeal date, has yet to be announced. 



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