A Pakistani Christian mother who fell victim to her country’s strict blasphemy laws has been nominated for a top award by the European Union. Asia Bibi, who’s spent the past eight years in prison in Pakistan, has been put forward as a potential winner of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.
Who is Asia Bibi?
Asia Bibi, a 51-year old fruit picker from Sheikhupura, was convicted of blasphemy and sentenced to death in 2010 after an argument with a Muslim woman over a glass of water. Her supporters and rights activists maintain her innocence and insist she was falsely accused due to a personal dispute with the accuser.
The last time her case was taken up by the Supreme Court, was on October 13, by a three-judge bench. However, one of the judges, Iqbal Hameed-ur-Rehman retired from the case because he said he was also a part of the bench in the case of the murder of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, who was assassinated by his bodyguard in 2011 for his support of Bibi. Judge Pervez Ali Shah fled to Saudi Arabia along with his family in 2011 after getting death threats for convicting Malik Mumtaz Hussein Qadri who confessed to murdering Taseer. Shahbaz Bhatti, a Catholic and federal minister for minorities, was also assassinated that year for supporting Bibi’s released and recommending reform of the blasphemy law.
Source: Radio Vaticana