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Thread: Mother of 5 sentenced to death for blasphemy

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    Default Mother of 5 sentenced to death for blasphemy

    ....
    Pakistan Muslims warn of anarchy if Christian pardoned
    Fri, Nov 26, 2010
    AFP


    ISLAMABAD - Pakistan's most influential Sunni Muslim alliance urged the government Friday not to pardon a Christian mother sentenced to death for blasphemy, warning that it would lead to nationwide anarchy.

    Politicians and conservative clerics are at loggerheads on whether President Asif Ali Zardari should pardon Asia Bibi, a mother of five sentenced to hang for defaming the Prophet Mohammed under controversial blasphemy laws. While a growing number of moderate politicians have backed calls for clemency for Bibi, religious conservatives have organised a rival campaign.

    "The pardon would lead to anarchy in the country," the head of Sunni Ittehad Council, Sahibzada Fazal Kareem, told AFP.

    "Our stand is very clear that this punishment cannot be waived."

    Kareem said that the alliance would lead protests nationwide on Friday against any moves to pardon Bibi.

    The council opposes Taliban militants, which are fighting government troops in parts of northwest Pakistan, and has also organised a protest march against deadly attacks on Sufi shrines blamed on Islamist hardliners.

    Rights activists say Pakistan's controversial blasphemy law, under which the offence is punishable by death, encourages Islamist extremism in a Muslim country on the front line of the US-led war on Al-Qaeda.

    Minority affairs minister Shahbaz Bhatti presented a clemency plea to Zardari late Thursday on the grounds that the case against Bibi was based only on personal enmity.

    Pope Benedict XVI has also called for Bibi's release and said Christians in Pakistan were "often victims of violence and discrimination."

    Bibi was arrested in June 2009 after Muslim women labourers refused to drink from a bowl of water she was asked to fetch while out working in the fields.

    Days later, the women complained that she made derogatory remarks about the Prophet Mohammed. Bibi was set upon by a mob, arrested by police and sentenced on November 8.

    Rights activists and pressure groups say it is the first time that a woman had been sentenced to hang in Pakistan for blasphemy. Only around three percent of Pakistan's population of 167 million are estimated to be non-Muslim.http://news.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne...26-249402.html

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    Default Re: Mother of 5 sentenced to death for blasphemy

    I read somewhere recently that the President is considering clemency if her family agrees to leave the country, which they refused.
    Thus all which you call Sin, Destruction—in brief, Evil—that is my true element.

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    Default Re: Mother of 5 sentenced to death for blasphemy

    Quote Originally Posted by TotalMayhem View Post
    I read somewhere recently that the President is considering clemency if her family agrees to leave the country, which they refused.
    Which is their right to refuse and poor people cannot simply leave a country not to mention that is a sentence of exil upon the whole family --and conveniently gets rid of a few more people who are not muslim, as a muslim family would not be required to leave the country because of what one member may or may not have done.

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    Default Re: Mother of 5 sentenced to death for blasphemy

    I didn't really follow it up, Christy, I just remember seeing this headline somewhere recently.

    And I'm not saying they should accept this offer.
    Thus all which you call Sin, Destruction—in brief, Evil—that is my true element.

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    Default Re: Mother of 5 sentenced to death for blasphemy

    Any journalist care to ask Mullah Aherne to comment?
    Think National. Act Local. Oh- and superstition is just the dark matter of human history.

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    Default Re: Mother of 5 sentenced to death for blasphemy

    Quote Originally Posted by TotalMayhem View Post
    I didn't really follow it up, Christy, I just remember seeing this headline somewhere recently.

    And I'm not saying they should accept this offer.
    Sorry, I have tendancy to be direct which can come across as blunt in a way that I didnt mean --I did understand you were already aware of this case to some extent.

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    Default Re: Mother of 5 sentenced to death for blasphemy

    Asia Bibi is still incarcerated in Pakistan.
    Her family are in hiding following death threats.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asia_Bibi

    http://www.callformercy.com/

    http://youtu.be/T6q_enbv-DM

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=tAivnlsrYfU

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    Default Re: Mother of 5 sentenced to death for blasphemy

    Asia Bibi is still in a Pakistani prison under threat of death from both her Muslim fellow prisoners and the Pakistani judicial system.

    Her final appeal against the death sentence for alleged "blasphemy" is scheduled to be heard in October this year.

    Some brave Pakistani people risk death to support her cause but many journalists (Muslim and non-Muslim) are fearful of being targeted by Muslims and so do not report her side of the story or advocate for clemency.

    Two politicians, Minister Shahbaz Bhatti (the only Christian in the cabinet) and Salmaan Taseer Governor of Punjab were assassinated for supporting Asia.
    Salmaan Tasseer and his family had visited Asia several times in prison and both Bhatti and Taseer were well aware of the risk they were taken.




    Here Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, criticises previous governments of Pakistan for failing to free Asia:

    "I have spoken to Pakistani government officials and the judiciary. All of them express great shock at the ongoing abuse of her liberty. Yet Asia's tragedy continues. I have come to the conclusion that all I have been receiving is diplomatic lip service, devoid of passion for justice.

    "Asia's story is one of oppression and discrimination and despite international pressure, statutory authorities and the Government of Pakistan have failed her, just as they have failed all minorities in Pakistan.

    "Freedom for Asia Bibi would be a watershed moment in the campaign for justice, equality and freedom for minorities in Pakistan. Previous governments have failed miserably, but I believe the incumbent Government is genuinely attempting to restore the balance. I hope that effective protection is provided to Asia and her family, the judiciary and all persons that could make this latest appeal a success. Any half-hearted approach will undermine Asia's trial and create a further blight on Pakistan's reputation."


    Next Saturday (10/9/16) the Irish organisation Church in Chains will be holding their annual conference in Clarion hotel, Liffey Valley, Dublin.

    They have been campaigning for Asia to be freed and for the many other Christians in similar plights throughout the world.

    The main speaker is Rev Soja Bewarang (NIGERIA)

    ADMISSION FREE

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    Default Re: Mother of 5 sentenced to death for blasphemy

    Asia's final appeal against the death sentence is scheduled for 13th of this month.


    Asia Bibi's final appeal against the death sentence for blasphemy has been scheduled to be heard by Pakistan's Supreme Court next Thursday (13 October).

    Khalil Tahir Sindhu, one of Asia Bibi's lawyers, has told UK Christian radio station Premier that if Asia is not acquitted she could be hanged within thirty days of the verdict, but says he believes she will be acquitted because of lack of evidence against her.

    Khalil, who has visited Asia in prison, said: "She is very, very strong in her faith. There were so many attempts to convert her but she said 'No – I will remain faithful to Jesus Christ' and she has remained faithful."

    More here: http://www.churchinchains.ie/node/914

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    Default Re: Mother of 5 sentenced to death for blasphemy

    Asia Bibi's appeal has been postponed:

    Earlier today, Ashiq Masih (husband of Asia Bibi) attended Pakistan's Supreme Court in Islamabad which was due to hear the evidence in Asia's final appeal against the death sentence for blasphemy.

    However, no evidence was heard as one of the three judges recused himself from the case, and the appeal was adjourned with no new date being set. For Asia (who remained in prison and was not in court) it was yet another delay in her quest for justice.
    Asia was not in court for the appeal hearing but her husband Ashiq Masih was (picture shows him outside the court). The adjournment came after Justice Iqbal Hameed-ur-Rehman told the court he had to recuse himself, claiming a conflict of interest. "I was a part of the bench that was hearing the case of Salman Taseer [the Governor of Punjab who was assassinated after supporting Asia Bibi], and this case is related to that," he told the court. The judges wrote to the chief justice of Pakistan asking him to appoint another judge to the bench.

    The Supreme Court did not immediately set a new date for the appeal though one of Asia's lawyers is hopeful that it may be heard in early November.

    There was heightened security in Islamabad with over 100 riot police deployed around the court and over 3,000 members of the security forces on standby elsewhere in the city. On the eve of the hearing, a Muslim extremist group, the "Shuhada Foundation", said its supporters would take to the streets and would not allow the government to function if Asia were released.

    "We are seriously concerned at the efforts for the release of blasphemous Asia Masih and will consider those blasphemous who defend her, whoever they are and in whichever position they are working," said Hafiz Ehtesham Ahmad, spokesperson for the foundation. He also warned of "serious consequences" if Asia were allowed to go abroad.

    Zohra Yusuf, chair of the independent Human Rights Commission in Pakistan, said that the appeal delay was "regrettable", noting that Asia Bibi was already being held in solitary confinement due to security concerns. The judges may be "apprehensive", she said, adding that after the Supreme Court announced its decision to uphold Mumtaz Qadri's death sentence for assassinating Salman Taseer, justices had to sneak out the back door to the court. "It's a sensitive case. I think they [the judges] have realised that if Asia Bibi [is] acquitted, they may be putting their own lives on the line," Yusuf said.

    (AFP, Express Tribune, Release International)

    Above from here: http://www.churchinchains.ie/node/915

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    Default Re: Mother of 5 sentenced to death for blasphemy

    Chief Justice rejects request for June hearing of Asia Bibi’s appeal.

    From Church in Chains:


    Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar (pictured) has turned down a request from Asia Bibi’s lawyer that her Supreme Court appeal be heard in June.

    Asia’s lawyer, Saiful Malook, moved an early hearing application in mid-April, requesting that the appeal (against her conviction and death sentence under the blasphemy law) be fixed for the first week of June. No reason was given by the Chief Justice for refusing the application.

    Asia-Bibi-Prison-–-Square_1Asia has been in prison since June 2009. After several court hearings and many delays, the High Court ruled against her in October 2014. Her lawyers immediately appealed to the Supreme Court and following several further delays the case was listed for hearing in October 2016.

    However, it was immediately adjourned because one of the three judges recused himself, claiming a conflict of interest as he had been on the bench in a related case. If the death sentence is upheld by the Supreme Court, Asia’s only hope will be a presidential pardon.

    Grounds for appeal

    Mr Malook said that Asia’s case in the Supreme Court appeal is that the High Court, while upholding the trial court sentence, failed to take into consideration the statement made by her under Section 342 of the Code of Criminal Procedure wherein she stated that she “had offered oath to police on the Bible that she had never passed derogatory and shameful remarks against the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) and the Holy Quran.”

    The appeal also argued that the police had conspired with the complainant to make a false accusation and that the evidence of the prosecution witnesses was motivated by previous arguments they had with Asia Bibi.

    Mr Malook also said that the High Court had failed to extend the benefit of doubt to Asia Bibi on account of a long delay of five days in the initial registration of the case which followed “deliberation and consultation among different Muslim religious leaders before the registration of the case. It was a well-settled principle of criminal law that unexplained delay in the registration of the criminal case, caused serious doubts on the veracity of the evidence.”

    (Dawn, Express Tribune)

    Church in Chains has written to the Pakistani Chargé d’Affaires in Dublin expressing deep disappointment at this further delay in hearing Asia’s appeal and pointing out that Asia has now been in prison for almost eight years in a case that casts grave doubt on the operation of justice in Pakistan. The letter appeals to the Pakistani government to act immediately to ensure that the Supreme Court appeal is heard without further delay and emphasises that Asia’s case is a clear example that “justice delayed is justice denied”.

    Background

    Asia Bibi is a Christian farm labourer from Punjab province in northeast Pakistan. On 14 June 2009, when picking berries in the fields with three Muslim women, Asia went to fetch water. The women refused to drink from the bowl she brought, saying the water had been brought by an “untouchable” and was “unclean”. After an argument, one of the women told the local imam that Asia had said: “Jesus Christ died on the cross for me – what did Mohammed ever do for you?” The imam filed a blasphemy case, local men beat Asia and the police took her into custody for protection.

    In November 2010, she was sentenced to death. Over the years, Islamists have persistently called for Asia’s execution, and Muslim clerics put a bounty on her head. Two politicians who supported her and spoke out against Pakistan’s blasphemy laws have been assassinated.

    Asia is married to Ashiq Masih and they have two daughters, Isha (18) and Isham (17), who has an intellectual disability and walking difficulties. Since Asia was accused of blasphemy, the family has been forced into hiding to avoid attack, and has had to move several times.



    Link: http://www.churchinchains.ie/news-by...-bibis-appeal/

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    Default Re: Mother of 5 sentenced to death for blasphemy

    Asia Bibi is still in a Pakistani prison under threat of death. She is one of the Christian prisoners highlighted in the latest Church in Chains magazine. The others are Bakhrom Kholmatov (Tajikistan), Kim Jong Uk (North Korea), Sevada Aghasar (Iran), Yang Hua (China), Kidane Weldou (Eritrea).

    Here is a link to the on line version of their Magazine for some details on each of the prisoners along with more info on other cases.

    https://view.publitas.com/church-in-...3-web/page/4-5



    This is an interview with Asia from 2011. At that time she had been in prison one year. "PJ" stands for Pakistani journalist. The journalist must remain anonymous because anyone suspected of supporting Asia risks been murdered.

    PJ: How are you being treated?

    AB: When I was arrested, i was assaulted and harnessed by the police... I was in a state of shock for many days.... I fasted and prayed... my family has been in trouble... they have been moving one place to another... yes i have forgiven the Muslims who put me and my family in this situation. I live in a confined cell, i am allowed to go out for only 30 minutes every day.... and allowed to meet my family for 1 hour every Tuesday....
    I am given raw material to cook for myself, the administration fears I might be poisoned, as other Christians accused of Blasphemy were poisoned or killed in the jail.... the security on my duty is polite. Last week a few hot words were exchanged with the warden over a minute issue, she tried to strangled me. She has been suspended.

    PJ: What are your expectations for the future?

    AB: I pray and and fast, I want to be with my family. Hug my daughters, kiss them. I am awaiting for a date from the Lahore High Court for the appeal regarding the death sentence... Masihi Foundation is supporting my family and has hired a lawyer for the case. A petition has been filed at the Lahore high Court awaiting them to accept the case for hearing.... I am hopeful that I will be released. There is a bounty of about 8,000$ offered by the religious clerics, I have left everything on God, I will accept His will...

    PJ: Do you have a message for the Christians [of the West]?

    AB: I will request them to pray and do something for the Christians in Pakistan who are suffering and persecuted....there are many other Christians in jails who need help... They can help the human rights organizations who fight for the persecuted and become the voice of the voiceless.

    PJ: Is there any way [Christians in the West] can help you?

    AB: They can pray and ask their government / representatives to do something for the persecuted Christians....

    PJ: What do you think of the Pakistani blasphemy law?

    AB: Blasphemy law is a man made law, it is being misused in Pakistan to settle personal vendettas, it should be repealed or atleast amended.. It has claimed so many innocent lives... I have also been falsely accused.

    PJ: What ks the general situation of Christians in Pakistan?

    AB: Its not very good, the Christians specially in the villages are living a worst life, they are mistreated, abused and framed for false cases as they cannot afford to fight for their rights.... the NGOs need support to help them, they are denied government jobs and not given the respect... only 10 % of the Christians are able to get good jobs and are settled only because they are educated. The odd jobs in the country are reserved only for the Christians.

    PJ has also talked with Aasia Bibi's two daughters:

    Bibi`s Daughter Alishba said:

    " We are praying and fasting for our mother so that she can be with us, I visit her with my father and each time I meet her, i cant stop myself and tears pour out. My mother tries to hold my hand through the gaps between the grilled window and says, have faith in the Lord, He will bring me home one day.
    Every time I hear these words, I cry to the Lord to bring back my mother so that we can be with her again."

    The youngest daughter said:

    " It has been months I have not met my mother, I an scared... I just see her pictures and can't control my tears. I fear that I will not be able to see my mother in the condition she is in. As I have the pleasant memories of her when she was with us, so I cannot even imagine what she is going through.
    There are times I even lose all the hope of seeing her ever again, so I want to keep the memories of her smiling and playing with us. If she comes back to us, I will forget this whole thing as a bad dream."
    Above interview is from here: https://www.christianstogether.net/A...view_with.aspx
    Last edited by eamo; 12-02-2018 at 01:07 PM.

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    Default Re: Mother of 5 sentenced to death for blasphemy

    Ján Figeľ, the EU’s Special Envoy for "promotion of Freedom of Religion or Belief outside the EU", has told Pakistani government officials that the renewal of their export privileges to Europe depends on Asia Bibi’s release from prison.

    Seems to me that a side effect of Brexit and the increased awareness by the people of Europe as to how they are been betrayed by the EU elite is that the EU is now pretending to be concerned about Islamic intolerance and aggression. Who do they think they are kidding?


    A recent EU press release reports that Ján Figeľ told the Pakistani government that the future continuity of Pakistan’s GPS Plus status will be directly linked to the outcome of Asia Bibi’s blasphemy case. The Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) allows developing countries to pay little or no duty on exports to the EU, giving vital access to the EU market and contributing to growth.

    In 2013, the EU awarded GSP Plus status to Pakistan, allowing 20 percent exports to EU markets at zero tariffs and another 70 percent at preferential rates. Since then, EU countries have become the leading destination of Pakistani exports, and the ending of GSP Plus status would be a severe economic blow.

    Ján Figeľ, who visited Pakistan in December to take part in the setting up of an inter-faith advisory commission to work on preventing the misuse of the blasphemy laws, stressed the need to resolve the Asia Bibi case because Italy, one of the EU strategic partners, has been pushing hard to link the renewal of GSP Plus status with her release.

    The EU press release, published on 1 February 2018, also states: “The EU countries have started believing that Pakistan’s Supreme Court, appeasing certain political and fundamental forces of Pakistan, is intentionally delaying the hearing of Asia Bibi.”

    Asia Bibi, a Christian farm labourer from Punjab, has been in prison since 2009 and is awaiting a Supreme Court hearing of her appeal against the death sentence for blasphemy.

    (EU in Pakistan/World Watch Monitor)
    From above: The EU press release, published on 1 February 2018, also states: “The EU countries have "started believing" that Pakistan’s Supreme Court, appeasing certain political and fundamental forces of Pakistan, is intentionally delaying the hearing of Asia Bibi.”

    Well bedad, Sherlock Holmes couldn't hold a candle to them EU lads.


    --------------------


    In other news from Pakistan:


    At least 800 families fled a Christian neighbourhood in Lahore after an 18-year-old Christian, Patras Masih, was accused of posting a blasphemous image on Facebook.

    A mob of over 3,000 Muslims led by the Tehreek Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah and other Islamist parties gathered on Monday 19 February, in response to announcements from mosque loudspeakers, and threatened to burn down local Christians’ homes. Police took Patras into custody late that night, after a day of protests.

    Patras lives in the Dhair neighbourhood of Shahdara, a northern suburb of Lahore, where he and his family are members of Bethania Church. The Dhair neighbourhood is home to about 2,000 Christian families, and Bishop Emmanuel Masih of God’s Church in Lahore said at least 800 of those families fled to stay with relatives elsewhere, fearing a repeat of previous cases when Christian neighbourhoods were torched following blasphemy accusations.

    Patras Masih was accused of having posted a blasphemous image on a group Facebook page from his mobile phone a month previously, on 16 January. Some reports suggest that someone other than Patras posted the allegedly blasphemous photo from his phone; others that he inadvertently shared a photo posted by others.

    Patras’ father Indreyas Masih said his son’s phone had been in a repair shop since December. “My son is illiterate and works as sweeper at a private bank,” he said. “He has never been involved in any religious dispute with any Muslim in the village. I’m unable to understand why he has been trapped in this case.”

    Accusation
    Shahdara Town Police registered a First Information Report (FIR) lodged by local man Hafiz Muhammad Awais under Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code. He alleged that Patras posted blasphemous content that defamed the prophet Muhammad on Facebook on 16 January, and stated in his FIR: “After seeing this post, I asked Muhammad Siddique [moderator of the group], who immediately phoned the suspect, Patras Masih, and asked him to remove the post. But Patras refused to remove the post, after which the area residents are quite upset and angry.”

    On the evening of Sunday 18 February, three men came to Patras’ family home, showed his mother Saima Bibi a picture of her son and asked if he was home. He was out, and was still out when four men tried again later.

    Saima told World Watch Monitor, “When Patras came home, we told him and he could not make sense of why these people were looking for him. Early the next morning, Patras and his father left for work, where his friend told him on the phone that people were gathering outside, after which the two of them fled while I came back home. The police knocked on the door while I was in the washroom. They left after searching, without finding me. I spent all day in the washroom and at night I went to the second floor of the building and jumped to a neighbour’s house.”

    Riot
    Protest sign at Dhair riotEarly on Monday 19 February, clerics began making announcements from mosque loudspeakers calling on all Muslims to gather and protest against the alleged blasphemy. An angry mob started gathering from 7 am, bringing petrol to start fires, and grew to over 3,000 in number. The mob set tyres alight and blocked part of the Grand Trunk Road (which connects Lahore with the rest of Pakistan), demanding that Patras be publicly hanged – the sign in the photo reads, “Wicked Christian Patras must be punished for committing blasphemy!“

    The police arrived, bringing clerics to negotiate with the mob. The rioters told police they would burn down Christians’ homes if Patras were not arrested. The police got the road clear for traffic by the evening, and a large police contingent was deployed in the area to prevent violence, but the mob continued to demand an arrest and public hanging, and dispersed only after the local police chief said the accused had been arrested and charged with blasphemy.

    Sub-Inspector Haji Munir, who is leading the investigation, told World Watch Monitor: “A huge number of people who were extremely angry had gathered and blocked the road, but thank God that no untoward incident took place and now the situation is under control. Patras was told by other members of the Facebook group to delete the post, but he remained adamant, after which this issue arose. Patras is still under investigation but soon will be sent to jail.”

    Patras’ uncle reported, “In the evening, when the angry mob was getting out of control, we went to the superintendent of police’s office and handed Patras to them. Since then we don’t know what is taking place with him.”

    Patras’ father Indreyas, who works as a driver, told Morning Star News by phone from an undisclosed location that he was at work when he heard about the protests. “I was on duty when I received a phone call from my family that announcements are being made from mosque loudspeakers that my son Patras has committed blasphemy and should be punished for his crime,” he said. “I was shocked to hear this news and immediately asked my family members to leave the village.”

    He added, “We handed Patras to the police late on Monday after a provincial Christian lawmaker, Tariq Gill, told us that the protestors won’t back down until we surrender my son.”

    The day after the riot, mosque announcements called on Christians to return to their homes, as the “blasphemer” had been arrested and they need not fear reprisals from Muslims.

    Aneeqa Maria, a lawyer with The Voice Society, told Morning Star News that the organisation will provide legal assistance to the family. She said, “I believe the police jumped the gun due to the pressure exerted by the religious parties and charged Patras under Section 295-C to placate the mobs.”

    Press conference
    Mary Gill at press conferenceSeveral Islamic clerics and a few Christian leaders held a press conference at Shahdara Police Station on the evening of 20 February and signed a joint statement calling for Christians to return and live peacefully with their Muslim neighbours, as before. The photo of the press conference shows Punjab Assembly Member Mary Gill, who signed the statement on behalf of the Christian community, beside Police Superintendent Syed Ali Raza, with two Islamic clerics beyond him.

    The statement said, “The Christian community has guaranteed that they would not interfere in the religious matters of Muslims any further. And neither would any such incident [of disrespect] take place anymore. [Christians] will respect the religion of Muslims and holy places and their religious festivals and they [the leaders] will teach this to the members of their community.”

    (British Pakistani Christians/Morning Star News/Pakistan Today/World Watch Monitor)


    All above, excluding my own comments, (with which I am sure they would not agree) are from Church in Chains. Subscribe on line to get their newsletter: http://www.churchinchains.ie/

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    Default Re: Mother of 5 sentenced to death for blasphemy

    Pakistani christian Asia Bibi's last possible legal appeal against the death sentence was heard in the Pakistan Supreme Court today.

    Her layers and supporters seem hopeful she will be acquitted. If the three judges do acquit her they will be targeted for murder as are Asia and her family and her supporters in Pakistan.

    The Irish government should announce that Asia and her family would be welcome to settle in Ireland if they so wish. This is a genuine case of people needing protection and God knows the powers that be here are only too willing to let in chancers and criminals. So let us see them take the initiative and extend a welcome to Asia and her family and other genuine cases.


    From Church in Chains. Original report here https://www.churchinchains.ie/news-b...-bibia-appeal/ :

    On 8 October, three members of Pakistan’s Supreme Court (Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel) heard evidence in the appeal of Asia Bibi against her conviction for blasphemy. The judges highlighted several discrepancies in the statements of prosecution witnesses and announced that they would reserve judgment. They did not give a date for the announcement of their verdict but warned media not to discuss the case.

    During the hearing, which lasted for almost three hours, Asia Bibi’s lawyer Saiful Mulook said that the incident at the heart of the complaint took place on 14 June 2009 but had not been reported until five days later. He told the court that the case had been filed by a Muslim prayer leader in the village of Katanwala in Nankana Sahib, according to whom Asia Bibi had confessed to committing blasphemy. In his complaint against Asia Bibi, the prayer leader stated that the villagers had not attempted to beat her (an incident that was widely witnessed).

    “What we can conclude from your statements is that the prayer leader himself did not witness the incident as it happened,” Justice Khosa observed. “No blasphemous language was uttered in the presence of the prayer leader.”

    Asia Bibi PrisonAsia’s lawyer explained the background to the complaint, stating that Asia Bibi (pictured) and two Muslim women engaged in agricultural work had a heated exchange after the women had refused to drink water from the same vessel as Asia. He told the court that the statements of the Muslim women, Asma and Isma, are contradictory.

    Justice Nisar observed that the witnesses had not testified to Asia Bibi disrespecting the Prophet Mohammed, but that they simply described an argument that had taken place in the agricultural field.

    Asia’s lawyer argued that the investigation was faulty and grounded in malicious intent and said that in such a situation, Pakistan’s blasphemy law is inapplicable.

    The Chief Justice wondered whether the assistant superintendent police’s probe could be relied upon, to which the lawyer replied that police had wrongfully registered the case, according to Asia Bibi.

    “No blasphemous words were used at all”, he said. “Asia, in her statement, said that she could not even conceive of committing blasphemy. She simply had an argument with two women. During that argument, they exchanged harsh words.”

    “What kind of incident is this? That you were argued with, harsh words were used for you, and then the case was also filed against you?” the Chief Justice wondered.

    “Are you suggesting it is possible that the person who filed the case, the prayer leader, is being used by someone else?” Justice Khosa asked. “That he is a frontman and someone else is behind him?” “It is possible that this is the case,” the lawyer said. He went on to say that the witnesses are lying.

    Asia’s lawyer also informed the bench that Asia Bibi, who is illiterate, was referred to as a preacher in the complaint. “This reflects ill-intention [on the part of the complainant],” he added.

    Reaction
    Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA), said: “I am confident that this is a good result having spoken to officials from the Pakistani Embassy in the UK, MEPs and various MPs and Lords who have been working diligently for freedom for Asia Bibi, and others in the humanitarian field all share this confidence.”

    “Reserving the decision seems like a move designed to enable Asia to escape retaliatory action from incensed extremists in the country, many of whom have regularly rioted in response to every one of her previous appeals and threatened her with extrajudicial killing if exonerated.”

    The BPCA also revealed that churches all over Pakistan had observed Sunday as a day of prayer and fasting for Asia’s appeal.

    Dr Paul Bhatti, the brother of Shabaz Bhatti (a Christian government minister murdered by Muslim extremists in 2011after supporting Asia Bibi) said: “I’m very hopeful and confident that the Supreme Court will give its verdict in favour of Asia Bibi.” Speaking from Treviso in north Italy, where he is a surgeon, Paul said he was not sure whether Asia will be released immediately, but it will definitely be an important step to “release her soon”.

    (Dawn/Express Tribune/British Pakistani Christian Association/Vatican News)



    SHARE THIS

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Mother of 5 sentenced to death for blasphemy

    Asia Bibi has been acquitted of the charges against her.

    The Pakistan Supreme Court has ordered her immediate release. Great news indeed.

    This was a very brave decision by the three judges as they are now prime targets for murder by Islamic extremists. The Tehreek-e-Labbeik Pakistan (TLP) leader Afzal Qadri has publicly stated that the judges are now "liable for death".
    The bravery of those Pakistani people who have supported her, some of whom have been murdered for their stance, shows the very best aspect of Pakistan and its people.

    On 31 October, Pakistan’s Supreme Court declared Asia Bibi innocent of blasphemy and ordered her immediate release from prison.

    The Supreme Court decision was communicated to Asia in prison by telephone. She responded by saying, “I can’t believe what I am hearing, will I go out now? Will they let me out, really? I just don’t know what to say, I am very happy, I can’t believe it.” Asia has been in prison since 2009, the first woman to be sentenced to death under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.

    There was no immediate confirmation that Asia had been released from prison but it is widely expected that she and her family will leave Pakistan in the coming days. Hard-line Muslim extremists have vowed to kill Asia, meaning that it would not be safe for her to stay in the country. She has been offered asylum in several European countries.

    Judgment
    In their judgment, the Supreme Court judges said they agreed that Asia Bibi had not been tried fairly, noting “glaring and stark” contradictions in the prosecution’s evidence, and ordered her immediate release.

    Justice Asif Khosa, writing in the full 56-page verdict, said the truth had not been fully revealed during the trial. “[There is] the irresistible and unfortunate impression that all those concerned in the case with providing evidence and conducting investigation had taken upon themselves not to speak the truth or at least not to divulge the whole truth. It is equally disturbing to note that the courts below had also, conveniently or otherwise, failed to advert to such contradictions and some downright falsehood…

    “It is ironical that in the Arabic language the appellant’s name Asia means ‘sinful’ but in the circumstances of the present case she appears to be a person, in the words of Shakespeare’s King Lear, ‘more sinned against than sinning’.”

    Asia’s lawyer Saif-ul-Malook responded to the verdict, saying: “It is great news for Pakistan and rest of the world. Asia Bibi has finally been served justice. Pakistan’s Supreme Court must be appreciated that it upheld the law of the land and didn’t succumb to any pressure.”

    Family Reaction
    Ashiq and EishamSpeaking within a few minutes of the announcement of the verdict, Asia Bibi’s daughter Eisham Ashiq (18) told Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need: “I am so happy. I want to thank God. This is the most wonderful moment. I can’t wait to hug my mother and then celebrate with my family. I am grateful to God for listening to our prayers.”

    Asia’s husband Ashiq Masih said, “We are very happy. This is wonderful news. We thank God very much that he’s heard our prayers – and the prayers of so many people who have longed for Asia Bibi’s release over all these years of suffering and anguish. We are grateful to the judges for giving us justice. We knew that she is innocent.” Close family friend Joseph Nadeem said that on hearing the news the family immediately “danced for joy”. He added: “There were many tears – tears of indescribable joy.”

    Lead Officer of the British Pakistani Christian Association in Pakistan, Mehwish Bhatti, said: “We are so happy and thankful to God for this big day! All glory goes to Him. The decision was tough; God has strengthened the resolve of the Justices and has made it possible. I pray for the peace of minorities, let God be their guardian.”

    Opposition and Protests
    Lahore protestersIn anticipation of the verdict, Khadim Hussain Rizvi, chief cleric of the Islamic extremist group Tehreek Labek Pakistan (TLP) called upon his followers to come out on the roads if the verdict of the Supreme Court came out in favour of Asia Bibi. Widespread protests began as soon as the verdict was announced. TLP members have gathered outside the Punjab assembly in Lahore, while others have blocked roads in Karachi. More have returned to the Faizabad interchange in Islamabad, the site of a three-week long protest camp held by the party last year that crippled the capital. There were also protests in the city of Multan, where Asia has been held in prison. The TLP chief, Afzal Qadri, said that all three judges are now liable for death.

    Another Islamist group, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), has announced that it will hold countrywide protests on Friday against the Supreme Court’s verdict. “Instead of court, we will approach the court of public on this verdict,” said JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman.

    Christian leaders in Pakistan responded to the protests at the verdict, saying: “This is a highly tense and threatening situation for the religious minorities, especially for Pakistani Christians, and there is fear of persecution of Christians and attacks on their churches and other properties. Therefore, we call upon the government of Pakistan and the Supreme Court to take notice of the threat call made by Khadim Rizvi and his group prior to the announcement of the Asia Bibi verdict. We also call upon them to ban Tehreek Labek Pakistan and all similar extremist groups who are involved in hate speech and use religion as a tool to promote violence in the society. We also call upon the government and law enforcement agencies to beef up the security and ensure the deployment of military troops to safeguard the lives and property of religious minorities, especially the Christians and churches.”

    (AFP/Aid to the Church in Need/Al-Jazeera/Dawn/Guardian/Open Doors/Reuters)

    SHARE THIS On 31 October, Pakistan’s Supreme Court declared Asia Bibi innocent of blasphemy and ordered her immediate release from prison.

    The Supreme Court decision was communicated to Asia in prison by telephone. She responded by saying, “I can’t believe what I am hearing, will I go out now? Will they let me out, really? I just don’t know what to say, I am very happy, I can’t believe it.” Asia has been in prison since 2009, the first woman to be sentenced to death under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.

    There was no immediate confirmation that Asia had been released from prison but it is widely expected that she and her family will leave Pakistan in the coming days. Hard-line Muslim extremists have vowed to kill Asia, meaning that it would not be safe for her to stay in the country. She has been offered asylum in several European countries.

    Judgment
    In their judgment, the Supreme Court judges said they agreed that Asia Bibi had not been tried fairly, noting “glaring and stark” contradictions in the prosecution’s evidence, and ordered her immediate release.

    Justice Asif Khosa, writing in the full 56-page verdict, said the truth had not been fully revealed during the trial. “[There is] the irresistible and unfortunate impression that all those concerned in the case with providing evidence and conducting investigation had taken upon themselves not to speak the truth or at least not to divulge the whole truth. It is equally disturbing to note that the courts below had also, conveniently or otherwise, failed to advert to such contradictions and some downright falsehood…

    “It is ironical that in the Arabic language the appellant’s name Asia means ‘sinful’ but in the circumstances of the present case she appears to be a person, in the words of Shakespeare’s King Lear, ‘more sinned against than sinning’.”

    Asia’s lawyer Saif-ul-Malook responded to the verdict, saying: “It is great news for Pakistan and rest of the world. Asia Bibi has finally been served justice. Pakistan’s Supreme Court must be appreciated that it upheld the law of the land and didn’t succumb to any pressure.”

    Family Reaction
    Ashiq and EishamSpeaking within a few minutes of the announcement of the verdict, Asia Bibi’s daughter Eisham Ashiq (18) told Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need: “I am so happy. I want to thank God. This is the most wonderful moment. I can’t wait to hug my mother and then celebrate with my family. I am grateful to God for listening to our prayers.”

    Asia’s husband Ashiq Masih said, “We are very happy. This is wonderful news. We thank God very much that he’s heard our prayers – and the prayers of so many people who have longed for Asia Bibi’s release over all these years of suffering and anguish. We are grateful to the judges for giving us justice. We knew that she is innocent.” Close family friend Joseph Nadeem said that on hearing the news the family immediately “danced for joy”. He added: “There were many tears – tears of indescribable joy.”

    Lead Officer of the British Pakistani Christian Association in Pakistan, Mehwish Bhatti, said: “We are so happy and thankful to God for this big day! All glory goes to Him. The decision was tough; God has strengthened the resolve of the Justices and has made it possible. I pray for the peace of minorities, let God be their guardian.”

    Opposition and Protests
    Lahore protestersIn anticipation of the verdict, Khadim Hussain Rizvi, chief cleric of the Islamic extremist group Tehreek Labek Pakistan (TLP) called upon his followers to come out on the roads if the verdict of the Supreme Court came out in favour of Asia Bibi. Widespread protests began as soon as the verdict was announced. TLP members have gathered outside the Punjab assembly in Lahore, while others have blocked roads in Karachi. More have returned to the Faizabad interchange in Islamabad, the site of a three-week long protest camp held by the party last year that crippled the capital. There were also protests in the city of Multan, where Asia has been held in prison. The TLP chief, Afzal Qadri, said that all three judges are now liable for death.

    Another Islamist group, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), has announced that it will hold countrywide protests on Friday against the Supreme Court’s verdict. “Instead of court, we will approach the court of public on this verdict,” said JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman.

    Christian leaders in Pakistan responded to the protests at the verdict, saying: “This is a highly tense and threatening situation for the religious minorities, especially for Pakistani Christians, and there is fear of persecution of Christians and attacks on their churches and other properties. Therefore, we call upon the government of Pakistan and the Supreme Court to take notice of the threat call made by Khadim Rizvi and his group prior to the announcement of the Asia Bibi verdict. We also call upon them to ban Tehreek Labek Pakistan and all similar extremist groups who are involved in hate speech and use religion as a tool to promote violence in the society. We also call upon the government and law enforcement agencies to beef up the security and ensure the deployment of military troops to safeguard the lives and property of religious minorities, especially the Christians and churches.”

    (AFP/Aid to the Church in Need/Al-Jazeera/Dawn/Guardian/Open Doors/Reuters)

    From Church In Chains here: https://www.churchinchains.ie/news-b...rders-release/

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