Asia Bibi's death sentence for blasphemy overturned in Pakistan

Asia Bibi's death sentence for blasphemy overturned in Pakistan

Pakistan's Supreme Court has acquitted a Christian woman who has been on death row for nearly eight years on blasphemy charges.

The trial of Bibi, who is an illiterate mother of five, has become a test case for Pakistan's commitment to protect its minorities, which have born the brunt of blasphemy accusations.


"....this appeal is allowed".

Bibi, who is the first non-Muslim to be sentenced to death for blasphemy, has remained in solitary confinement for the past eight years.

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.

Asia Bibi thumbs on her appeal papers against a death sentence.

But the verdict will anger those opposed to any change to the blasphemy law in Pakistan, which carries a mandatory death penalty. At least 74 have been killed in violence related to blasphemy allegations since 1990, according to an Al Jazeera tally.

Minority Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti who also spoke in Ms Bibi's support was shot dead two months after Mr Taseer was killed.

She has since been living in an undisclosed jail in Pakistan due to security reasons.

The protests are being led by the Islamic party Tehreek-e-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah.

'We are grateful to the judges for giving us justice.

Meanwhile, Bibi's husband Ashiq said Asia is confident she will soon be released from prison.

The ruling was read out by Chief Justice Saquib Nisar at the Supreme Court in Islamabad.

As thousands of protesters took to the streets in major cities across the country to demonstrate against the ruling Pastor Masih acknowledged unrest could be triggered by the court´s decision.

It is a case which has drawn global attention to Pakistan's blasphemy laws and divided the nation.

Muslim women she was labouring with allegedly objected, saying that as a non-Muslim she was unfit to touch the water bowl.

Pakistani lawyers who are contesting the case against Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman convicted of blasphemy, speaks to media outside the Supreme court, in Islamabad, Pakistan, on October 31, 2018. Mere calls to reform the law have provoked violence, most notably the assassination of Mr Salmaan Taseer, the governor of Pakistan's most populous province Punjab, by his own bodyguard in broad daylight in Islamabad in 2011. She was arrested in 2009 after Muslim neighbours accused her of insulting the Prophet Muhammad during an argument.

Critics of Pakistan´s controversial blasphemy laws have long claimed that the legislation has been used to settle personal vendettas and target religious minorities.

Ms Bibi admitted arguing with the women, but always maintained she said nothing blasphemous and was innocent of the charges.

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