A Pakistani Christian sentenced to death for “blasphemy” for giving a glass of water to a Muslim is appealing to the Islamic nation’s Supreme Court.
A three-judge panel will hear Asia Bibi’s appeal, according to the American Center for Law and Justice, which has defended her since her conviction in 2010.
Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar will hear the appeal Oct. 8 along with justices Asif Saeed Khosa and Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel.
ACLJ said Bibi was “convicted in 2010 under Pakistan’s medieval blasphemy laws and sentenced to death for blasphemy against the prophet Muhammad after she offered water to a Muslim co-worker who believed Asia had made the water ceremonially unclean by drinking from the same cup.”
“Since then the Christian mother of five has languished on death row, while her husband and children wait anxiously, praying for a miracle.
“This is a clear cut human rights violation,” ACLJ said.
If the court rejects her arguments, only the nation’s president could intervene.
Bibi’s supporters insist it was a personal dispute, and the Vatican has called for her release.
“We’ve presented Asia Bibi’s plight to the U.N. to urge intervention,” ACLJ said. “We’ve sent legal letters directly to Pakistan, demanding her immediate release. We have aggressively advocated across the globe for her freedom. And we will have our legal team from Pakistan in the courtroom praying that true justice is served and her life is saved.”
ACLJ said Bibi “has committed no crime – she is facing this outrageous barbaric sentence because of her Christian faith.”
“If her appeal fails, five children will be left motherless. We cannot sit by and let that happen.”
The case already has been costly for Pakistan. In 2011, former Punjab Gov. Salman Taseer spoke out in support of Bibi and was promptly gunned down in broad daylight.
His assassin, Mumtaz Qadri, was executed in 2016 after the court found him guilty of murder.
The blasphemy charge arose in 2009 when Bibi was working in a field.
“She was asked to fetch water, but the Muslim women objected, saying that as a non-Muslim she was unfit to touch the water bowl. The women went to a local cleric and accused Bibi of blasphemy against the prophet, a charge punishable by death under legislation that rights groups say is routinely abused to settle personal vendettas.”
WND reported last winter that Pope Francis gave her a rosary, and prison authorities allowed her to keep it.
The website Christians in Pakistan reported the gift from the pope came about when her husband, Ashiq Masih, and daughter, Eisham, visited Francis Feb. 24.
“The pontiff told them to convey his message to Asia Bibi saying that he is praying for her,” the report said.
Her case also has been integral to the call for a review of the nation’s blasphemy laws, which have been used by Muslims against Christians they dislike by simply making an accusation.
Many of the Christians who have faced such an accusation have been killed by mobs as soon as they were out on bond.