The trial had already been postponed twice, but Naeem Shakir, the Christian woman’s lawyer, in statements to the Fides Agency, was hopeful that the scheduled session would take place. According to the news agency, quoting her attorney, Asia Bibi in the women’s prison of Multan “is in good health and safe conditions”. The lawyer added that “she prays and hopes”.
The reprobation of Asia has rallied people and institutions around the world. On March 19, the European Parliament Working Group on Freedom of Religion or Belief asked, “to all those who are involved in the case, to give a proof of courage and not give in to any pressure or external threat”. They asked the Pakistani Government to “protect the independence and proper functioning of the Supreme Court of Lahore”, and urge the Pakistani authorities to provide adequate protection to all persons involved in the case, now and after a possible, future judicial decision “.
Asia Bibi was sentenced to death in 2010. It all started when Bibi was engaged in a discussion with Muslim women. In revenge, it was accused that the Christian, Bibi had blasphemed against Islam, a crime punishable by death in Pakistan. The law against blasphemy has been the target of much criticism in Pakistan. Until now, nobody has been executed for this crime, but several of the people charged were murdered in prison or after they were released.
An appeal in the case of unsupported blasphemy charges, has been postponed after her accuser failed to appear in court, the Fides news service reported.
Imprisoned for years, Asia Bibi’s children are missing their mother and praying to see her at home. Our hearts break for the disappointment they must be feeling today.
Attorneys for the mother of five, jailed since 2009 when neighbors accused her of blaspheming their prophet, were prepared to argue for her release in Lahore High Court. But because the Muslim who submitted the original legal complaint against her was not present, the judges postponed the hearing—again.
“We remain very confident, from a legal point of view,” the lawyers for Bibi told Fides. They are encouraged for the opportunity to put the case before the appeals court. Bibi supporters believe the lower courts have been intimidated by Muslim extremists.