The Pakistani Supreme Court on Wednesday overturned the conviction of a Christian mother for blasphemy in a seminal case that provoked fatal violence and reached as far as the Vatican.
"The appeal is allowed, she was acquitted The verdict of the Supreme Court and the Court of Justice is set aside and her sentence is set aside," said Pakistani Supreme Judge Saqib Nisar in the verdict.
The Asia Bibi case caught the attention of international right-wing groups and quickly became the highest-ranking person in the country.
Pope Benedict XVI released her in 2010 while her daughter met his successor in 2015 and the current head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis. Liberty for Bibi in Pakistan, where the University of St. Jews were lynched and Christians burned in stoves, because of blasphemy allegations. This means a life threatened by hard-liners who regularly hold demonstrations to demand their execution.
The allegations against Bibi date back to 2009, when she worked on a field was asked to fetch water. Muslim women she allegedly worked with allegedly objected and said that as a non-Muslim, she would not be able to touch the bowl of water.
The women went to a local cleric and accused Bibi of blasphemy against the prophet Muhammad, a charge punishable by death. During the appeal hearing on October 8, a panel of three judges from the Supreme Court appeared to question the case against them Judge Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, Pakistan's chief expert on criminal law, listed the armed forces as advocating procedural errors.
"I do not see derogatory remarks to the Holy Quran according to the FIR," Supreme Judge Saqib Nisar added, referring to the original complaint filed in the case.
According to a 2018 report by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (2018), about 40 people in Pakistan are reported to be in mortal agony or serving life sentences for blasphemy.
Leading right-wing groups have long criticized legislation He claims he is regularly abused to justify censorship, persecution and even minority murder.
In recent years, he was also punished with weapons to smear dissidents and politicians.
Only calls for reform of the law have provoked violence, notably the assassination of Salmaan Taseer, governor of the most populous Pakistani province of Punjab, by his own bodyguard in broad daylight in Islamabad in 2011.
Taseer also had the release of Bibi required. His assassin, Mumtaz Qadri, was executed in 2016 and celebrated by hardliners as a hero. A shrine was built by Islamists outside the capital.
Politicians, including new Prime Minister Imran Khan, demanded blasphemy summers during a parliamentary election to vow to defend the laws.
Analysts have warned that the tactic could deepen sectarian breaches and possibly turn into violence.
bur-ga-st-ds / kaf
The case of Christian Woman Asia Bibi drew attention to international right-wing groups and quickly became the best-known in the country