News

Blasphemy acquittal is no guarantee of Asia Bibi’s safety

Blasphemy acquittal is no guarantee of Asia Bibi’s safety

If Pakistan’s Supreme Court decides tomorrow (Thursday) to quash the death sentence imposed in 2010 on Asia Bibi, above, who was found guilty of blasphemy, chances are that Muslim fanatics will do all in their power to kill her.

According to this BBC report (July 2015):

Thousands have protested against her and said they would kill her if she were ever released.

One threat came from the imam in her own village. The imam, Qari Mohammed Salim, told the BBC he cried with joy when sentence was passed on Asia Bibi.

He helped to bring the case against her and says she will be made to pay, one way or the other.

If the law punishes someone for blasphemy, and that person is pardoned, then we will also take the law in our hands.

2136

Yesterday, the Guardian quoted her her husband, Ashiq Masih, above, as saying:

If Asia is acquitted we will never be able to return to our previous life, as my wife has been labelled an infidel and an infidel doesn’t deserve to survive in a society full of hatred. Too many want her dead and have put a bounty on her head.

Asia Bibi was sentenced to death for allegedly insulting the “prophet” following a bad-tempered argument with Muslim women in Itanwali, the small village in Punjab where she used to live.

She became a touchstone for liberals and Islamists alike after her case was linked to the assassination in January 2011 of Salmaan Taseer, then governor of Punjab.

He was shot in the back by Mumtaz Qadri, one of his own police bodyguards, who had been outraged by Taseer’s public support for Bibi. Taseer had lobbied for a presidential pardon for her and publicly denounced the blasphemy legislation as a “black law”.

He echoed criticism of human rights groups which say laws intended to protect Islam have been widely abused, with false or flimsy allegations often levelled against religious minorities as an excuse to settle property disputes.

Bibi’s husband told the Guardian the family has been in hiding ever since Qadri’s execution. He said:

We know if she is acquitted there will be outrage, but at least it will stop the trend for more convictions under the blasphemy law.

Asad Jamal, a leading human rights lawyer, said the court had no option but to acquit Bibi. Both her original trial and her first appeal in the Lahore high court in 2014, which upheld her conviction, were hopelessly flawed, he said.

There is absolutely no case against Asia, I really can’t emphasise that enough. It should take no more than 30 minutes to throw the case out.

Although most of Pakistan’s blasphemy cases suffer from weak evidence, many police officers and judges are unwilling to put themselves at risk by throwing out cases.

In 1997 a retired high court judge who acquitted two Christians of blasphemy charges was murdered in his office. In 2014 a lawyer was shot dead in the city of Multan after agreeing to defend a man charged with blasphemy.

An acquittal of Bibi by the country’s top judges would be legally momentous.

According to Jamal, it is the first time the Supreme Court has heard a case under section 295-C of the country’s basic criminal law, which protects Mohammed from any insults.

It remains to be seen how far the Supreme Court will go. It has already angered the religious right by upholding Qadri’s death sentence and ruling that criticism of the blasphemy laws did not itself constitute blasphemy.

Bibi’s husband said the court was:

The last ray of hope for me, my children and family members.

He said the seven years spent behind bars had taken a heavy toll on his wife, mentally and physically. She is held in solitary confinement for her own safety and has no access to reading material.

There were 434 blasphemy cases registered between 1953 and 2012, according to the Legal Aid Society.

A network of lawyers who offer their services for free to people lodging blasphemy cases has helped drive up the number of cases in recent years, with 336 filed in Punjab province alone in 2014.

Although the state has never carried out a death sentence for blasphemy, at least five people accused of blasphemy have reportedly died in custody.

12 responses to “Blasphemy acquittal is no guarantee of Asia Bibi’s safety”

  1. Pakistan certainly sounds like a right old shit-hole. Is it altogether wise therefore to allow so many of its inhabitants to settle in Western countries? It seems to me that the answer to this vexed question is a resounding “No.” I mean, just look at what happened in Rotherham and in so many other places. I’m still waiting for the feminist protest march to take place outside Rotherham Town Hall. I wait in vain, it seems. And there was I thinking that these feminists were so utterly opposed to Rape Culture, just as they were in Cologne, for example.

  2. L.Long says:

    isLame …the art of making xtians look good.

  3. Smokey says:

    Islam, the religion of hatred, misogyny and intolerance. Just like Christianity. If not for the Enlightenment, Christians would wear bomb vests. Now they just murder abortion providers.

    Blasphemy laws, the new Communism, where you better turn your neighbours in to the police before they do it to you. Laws that are made to shelter the superstitious from finally seeing the Emperor’s New Clothes.

    And they expect me to respect their repulsive superstitions? Never going to happen.

    They can make me fear them, and that is exactly where “Islamophobia” comes from. But is it really a phobia when the fear is based on real happenings?

    Please stop killing. Please stop threatening us. There are plenty of Anders Behring Breivik copycats out there with phobias against your specific religion.

  4. Trevor Blake says:

    Those judges, politicians and murderous mobs are practicing Islam as it is taught in the Quran and as it has been practiced by nearly every school of Islam large and small for over one thousand years. They are not extremist nor do they misunderstand their faith. They are what they say they are – Muslims.

    Contemptible, evil, foolish, dangerous, worthy of mockery Muslims.

  5. It really is. says:

    Q. Why do you think so many pakistanis live not in Pakistan?
    A. Because pakistan is what you get with islam. A place where nobody wants to live because it is a primitive barbaric lawless disease ridden beggared shit hole. Pakistan is the pile riddled maggot infested arsehole of the world.

  6. Newspaniard says:

    It is getting worse in the UK with craven authorities trying to appease islamofascists by throwing people like Louis Smith and his mate Luke Carson under the bus.
    It would appear that the replacement for the blasphemy laws is far worse than the original. Watch for the London mayor demanding the death sentence for blasphemers using hate speech laws.

  7. Broga says:

    If you believe what is clearly incredible given even a touch of common sense then repression and violence is all that is left to the religious imbeciles. And so the blood drips from the hands of Imam Salim, and his ilk, as he struts and postures and threatens murder on a defenceless women.

    Poor woman. Treated so viciously for being courageous and exercising free speech. I’d like to see some of these scum bag Imams roughed up. But they are secure amongst their demented followers.

  8. Paul says:

    It’s an interesting legal tautology to acquit someone for insulting something that merely exists in the ninds of others. Whose hurt cannot truly be rationally perceived as real and whose feelings don’t actually exist.

  9. chrsbol says:

    O.T. (or is it)
    2240 tonight ITV is showing a doc. muslims who try to leave Islam.

  10. bill says:

    Blasphemy is not a victimless crime. The victims of blasphemy in pakistan are those who speak out against religious stupidity and who are at serious risk of being murdered by lynch mobs of beggared halfwit thugs who crave violence as an entertainment and who are only too happy to do the will of the rabid verminous imams. Its the imams who are the real criminals. Just think how much better the world would be if we did not have holy men spreading their bile and poison.

  11. Tom Petty says:

    OT Back to the gymnast who “TOOK THE PISS” out of islam and offended the hair trigger violently intolerant of that most disgusting religion.

    The BBC presenter needs to be disciplined and suspended for her grovelling to islam. Shameful. The guy has had death threats and she is making him out to be the problem.

    Link – listen but have a bucket to throw up in. Top marks to the gymnast … dunces cap for the bbc. http://bbc.in/2e7XY1p

  12. […] it is reported from Pakistan that the Supreme Court today delayed a final appeal in the case of Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of five who has been on death row since 2010. The court, which was expected to quash her blasphemy conviction, did not immediately set a new date […]