The judges of Pakistan’s Supreme Court have suspended the death sentence of a Pakistani Christian mother accused of blasphemy.
According to Fides News Agency, the judges in Lahore declared the appeal filed by Asia Bibi’s lawyer “admissible.” Joseph Nadeem, director of the Renaissance Education Foundation, who is assisting in Bibi’s defense, said that the hearing “took place in a calm atmosphere and that there were no…Muslim extremists present in court.”
“Today is an important step forward. We are very satisfied. Now it is the time to pray and ask the Lord to melt the hearts of those involved in this case, including the judges, and pray that justice is done and Asia is released. We pray that Asia is strengthened by the grace of the Holy Spirit. And we pray for her release,” Nadeem said.
Accusations of blasphemy were raised against Bibi in 2009 following an argument with several neighbors, who said that she insulted them, their religion and the prophet Muhammad.
A few days later, complaints were made to a cleric about these alleged derogatory comments, resulting in a mob coming to her house and beating her and members of her family. Bibi was rescued by the police but, under pressure from the crowd, they charged her under Section 295 C of the Pakistan Penal Code, the country’s notorious anti-blasphemy law.
In 2010, Bibi was sentenced to death and in 2014, the Lahore High Court upheld her conviction.
Many in the international community have called for her release, given that the country’s blasphemy laws have been used in the past to falsely accuse and persecute Christians. (J.A.E.)