Christian Asia Bibi Sentenced to Death for Blasphemy in Pakistan

NOV 08 2010 — Asia Bibi was sentenced to death by a judge in a local court in the town of Sheikhupura, near Lahore, Pakistan after she was found guilty of blasphemy for speaking freely about Christianity to Muslim women working with her at a farm. The judge also fined Asia $1,190 (U.S.) and advised her that she had seven days to appeal the decision. Her attorney is planning to appeal the sentence.

Asia Bibi, a member of a Christian family, was arrested by police on June 19, 2009, and charged with blasphemy after she engaged in a religious discussion with co-workers. Asia’s family is one of only three Christian families in a village of more than 1,500 families.

Asia, who worked with many other local Muslim women on the farm of Muslim landowner Muhammad Idrees, was pressured to renounce Christianity and accept Islam. Asia allegedly responded by telling the Muslim women that Christ died on the cross for our sins. She added that Jesus is alive and “Our Christ is the true prophet of God.”

The Muslim women were angered and began to beat Asia. A group of men took her and locked her in a room, and announced from mosque loudspeakers that she would be punished by having her face blackened and be paraded through the village on a donkey.

Local Christians informed the police in order to protect Asia from the vigilantes. The police took her into custody before the local Muslims carried out their punishment. Currently Asia Bibi is being held at the police station in Nankana city. Christians there had urged the police not to file blasphemy charges, but police claimed that they were forced to proceed because of pressure from local Muslim leaders.

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