A Pakistani court has sentenced 38-year-old Christian Asia Bibi to death under the regime’s harsh blasphemy law.
Bibi was sentenced on Nov. 7 under Section 295-C of Pakistan’s Criminal Code. Section 295-C provides that anyone convicted of blasphemy is sentenced to either life in prison or death.
International Christian Concern’s Central Asian specialist Jonathan Racho says that Pakistani law allows Bibi to appeal.
“I spoke to a representative of another Christian group that will be hiring a lawyer to appeal the case on her behalf,” Racho stated.
“We are still very shocked by the decision of this court and we’re hopeful that the appeal will be successful,” he said.
Listen to an interview with Racho:
However, Racho explained that acquittal in Pakistan doesn’t always end the issue.
“In Pakistan, it’s a very complicated situation. Let’s say the court acquits her, it’s not going to be enough for Asia and her family to live freely. The Muslim world is going to carry out its own vigilante justice against her,” he said. “Even if the higher court releases her, Asia and her family face the reality of possibly being killed by the Muslim mobs.
“It may be that the only way for Asia to have any safety is if she and her whole family leave Pakistan,” Racho added.
WND reported in July that two Pakistani Christians were acquitted of blasphemy but were shot and killed on their way home from the courthouse.
ICC’s Racho explained that the incident involving Asia Bibi began in Ittanwali village in 2009 as a result of a heated religious discussion between Bibi and her co-workers on a farm.
“Bibi and a group of Muslim women were working on a farm in June 2009 and there was a discussion on religion,” he said.
“Bibi began to tell the women the difference between Jesus and Muhammad. She said Jesus was crucified and He rose from the dead,” said Racho.
“In Islam, Muhammad, the leader of the Muslims, died and he never came back from the dead,” he said.
Racho says that this is when the trouble started.
“At that point the Muslims became very angry and said she blasphemed the name of Muhammad and they beat her,” he said.
Racho explained the trouble continued after the group went into the Punjab Province village.
“Five days later, the villagers again assaulted Asia. The police were called, but when they arrived, they arrested Bibi and filed the blasphemy charge against her,” Racho said.
Racho cautions that the Pakistani government still is trying to get the U.N. to adopt its blasphemy law as part of the International Declaration of Human Rights and other international agreements.