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Top Pakistani court stays execution of Asia Bibi, grants new hearing in blasphemy case

July 22, 2015

Pakistan’s Supreme Court has stayed the execution of Asia Bibi, and ordered a new hearing on her case.

Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of five children, has been imprisoned for six years—including nearly five on death row—after being convicted of insulting Islam. Her lawyers have consistently argued that there is no evidence to support the conviction. Islamic militants, on the other hand, have insisted on enforcement of the sentence against her, and threatened lynching if she is freed.

The Supreme Court announced that it would hear an appeal of the Bibi case; a date for the new hearing has not been set. Her lawyers, however, have said that they are confident a fair hearing will result in her acquittal and release.

Paul Bhatti, a former federal government minister for minorities, told the AsiaNews servie: “We are confident and expect that she will be released in the near future.” He observed that the Supreme Court was apparently not influenced by “external elements”—an obvious reference to Islamic militants—and an unbiased panel would find Asia Bibi innocent.

 


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