Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Christian woman facing death for blasphemy is freed

ASSIST News Service (ANS) - PO Box 609, Lake Forest, CA 92609-0609 USA
Visit our web site at: www.assistnews.net -- E-mail: assistnews@aol.com


Monday, November 22, 2010


Asia Bibi pardoned by Pakistani president and now in hiding

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries
ITTANWALAI, PAKISTAN (ANS) -- The ASSIST News Service (ANS) -- www.assistnews.net -- has just received the good news that Asia Bibe, a Christian mother of four who was sentenced to death on November 8, 2010, for alleged blasphemy, has now been freed.

Asia, who had already spent the last year and a half in prison, was set free today (Monday, November 22, 2010), after being pardoned by Pakistani President, Asif Ali Zardari.

According to a source in Pakistan, "She has gone now into hiding over fears for her safety."

The Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS) told ANS that it “welcomes the release of Asia Bibi, the first Christian woman to be sentenced to death for blasphemy in Pakistan."

Bibe was found guilty of blasphemy despite there being no evidence that she committed the crime and her repeated denial of the charges laid against her.

She was accused of insulting the Prophet Muhammad by Muslim field workers following a dispute over their different faiths. When she was asked to bring a cup of water, the women refused to drink from it, saying that it had been touched by a Christian and was therefore “unclean.”

She was arrested in June 2009 in her home village of Ittanwalai, west of the Punjab provincial capital of Lahore, and prosecuted under Section 295 B and C of the Pakistan Penal Code, which carries a mandatory death penalty.

The case has made international headlines and thrown the spotlight on Pakistan’s unjust blasphemy laws.

CLAAS, which provides free legal assistance to Pakistani Christians, says that is delighted by the decision to release Asia and hopes that it brings the country one step closer to repealing the blasphemy laws.

Nasir Saeed, Coordinator of CLAAS in the UK, told ANS: “This is the only acceptable outcome to what has been a travesty of justice from the outset. Asia Bibi should never have been charged with blasphemy, let alone found guilty and sentenced to death.

“The ordeal faced by her and her family is unimaginable to most people outside of Pakistan who are largely unaware of the abuse and discrimination faced by the tiny Christian minority there.

“The blasphemy laws smack in the face of democracy and human rights and only reinforce the notion that Christians and other religious minorities in the country are somehow inferior and less human.

“We are relieved and overjoyed at Asia Bibi’s release but so long as the blasphemy laws remain in place there is no telling when another innocent Christian will face being executed because of something they said.”

This law is a disgrace in its use and abuse to harrass Christians. How can you blaspheme a mere man?

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