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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.
Please demand more be done to free Pastor Saeed Abedini and the other Americans imprisoned in Iran!
(ACLJ) In a critical development in American Pastor Saeed Abedini’s case, Congress will hold a hearing next week on his worsening plight.
Pastor Saeed’s wife, Naghmeh, and I have been asked to testify about Pastor Saeed’s dire situation as Members of Congress seek to once again elevate the plight of this U.S. citizen who been abandoned and wrongly imprisoned in Iran because of his faith.
A joint subcommittee hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee has been set for next, Thursday, December 12th at 9:30am.
The hearing before the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations, chaired by Representative Chris Smith (NJ), and the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, chaired by Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL), will focus on Pastor Saeed’s worsening plight.
We are grateful for this opportunity to elevate Pastor Saeed’s case, and it could not come at a more pivotal moment.
Last month Pastor Saeed was transferred from the political prisoner ward of Evin prison, a notoriously dangerous prison, to the violent criminal ward of Rajai Shahr prison, the deadliest prison in Iran. This week we learned that Pastor Saeed has been repeatedly robbed and threatened at knifepoint in this new prison.
Pastor Saeed’s health is also deteriorating. He is experiencing increased pain in his stomach as he is being denied necessary medication by Iranian authorities. He is malnourished, covered in lice, and losing weight because of horrendous prison conditions.
In light of his deadly situation and the Obama Administration’s refusal to even ask for Pastor Saeed’s release in recent direct negotiations with Iran, it is imperative that Congress speak out. The U.S. State Department and the Obama Administration must make Pastor Saeed’s freedom a true priority.
The life of a U.S. citizen – whose only “crime” is his Christian faith – is a stake.
More details and hearing location are available on the Committee’s website.