News

Pakistan upholds acquittal of woman in blasphemy case

Published

on

Pakistan upholds acquittal of woman in blasphemy case

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Print this page
Email A Friend!

‘);
} else {
$(“.fotorama-caption”).addClass(“remove_caption”);
}
})
.fotorama();

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan’s top court yesterday upheld its acquittal of a Christian woman who spent eight years on death row after being convicted of blasphemy, dealing a blow to radical Islamists who had staged violent mass protests last year calling for her execution.

Aasia Bibi watched from a secret location as the decision was announced on television, according to a friend who was on the phone with her at the time. He said Bibi’s first thought upon hearing the news was that she would soon be able to join her daughters in Canada, where they have been granted asylum.

The friend spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear for his safety. Bibi, her lawyer and the Supreme Court judges who eventually freed her have all received death threats from radical Islamists, and a small army of police and paramilitary Rangers was on hand to guard the courthouse and surrounding area yesterday.

Blasphemy is punishable by death in Pakistan, and the mere accusation can spark mob violence and lynchings. A provincial governor who defended Bibi was shot and killed, as was a government minority minister who questioned the blasphemy law.

Thousands of Islamists took to the streets and clashed with police after Bibi’s initial acquittal on October 31, but there were no such protests this time, perhaps because of the heightened security presence and a nationwide police sweep that arrested hundreds of supporters of radical religious parties from their homes on Monday.

Since her acquittal, Bibi has lived in hiding at an undisclosed location protected by Pakistani security forces who have kept her confined to her quarters, unable to even open a window. She speaks daily to her daughters in Canada, and worries about her 19-year-old, who has learning challenges, the friend said.

“I am really grateful to everybody. Now after nine years it is confirmed that I am free and I will be going to hug my daughters,” he quoted Bibi as saying after the ruling was announced.

Bibi’s lawyer, Saiful Malook, who returned to Islamabad for the hearing after fleeing the country amid death threats, called the decision a victory for Pakistan’s constitution and rule of law.

The three-judge Supreme Court panel had “insisted on very strict proofs of blasphemy” and found none, Malook said, expressing hope that Bibi’s acquittal would deter false allegations.

“This case is a milestone for Pakistan, given that the law is often unkind to religious minorities,” said Michael Kugelman, deputy director of the Asia Program at the Washington-based Wilson Centre. He cautioned that Pakistan’s courts are still susceptible to political pressure, but said the Supreme Court’s actions represented a “legal watershed”.

The court did not question the blasphemy law itself, which critics say is often used to settle scores or intimidate followers of minority religions, including Shiite Muslims.

Bibi’s ordeal began on a hot day in 2009 when she brought water to fellow farmhands who refused to drink from the same container as a Christian woman. Two of her fellow farmworkers argued with Bibi and later accused her of insulting Islam’s Prophet Muhammad. Bibi, who has always denied the allegations, was sentenced to death the following year.

Pakistan’s Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, who led the panel that upheld Bibi’s acquittal, said in court that Bibi’s accusers were guilty of perjury and that if the case had not been so sensitive, they should have been jailed for life.

Source link

قالب وردپرس

News

Over 30 sanctioned for not wearing masks in Mandeville

Published

on

By



























Over 30 sanctioned for not wearing masks in Mandeville





























































Copyright © 2020 Jamaica Observer. All Rights Reserved.

Terms under which this service is provided to you.
















Source link

قالب وردپرس

Continue Reading

News

1.5m health-care workers in Latin America, Caribbean fully vaccinated

Published

on

By



























1.5m health-care workers in Latin America, Caribbean fully vaccinated





























































Copyright © 2020 Jamaica Observer. All Rights Reserved.

Terms under which this service is provided to you.
















Source link

قالب وردپرس

Continue Reading

News

Ministry points to danger of vaccine hesitancy among high-risk groups

Published

on

By



























Ministry points to danger of vaccine hesitancy among high-risk groups





























































Copyright © 2020 Jamaica Observer. All Rights Reserved.

Terms under which this service is provided to you.
















Source link

قالب وردپرس

Continue Reading

News

Jamaicans head list of Caribbean people heading to Canada

Published

on

By



























Jamaicans head list of Caribbean people heading to Canada





























































Copyright © 2020 Jamaica Observer. All Rights Reserved.

Terms under which this service is provided to you.
















Source link

قالب وردپرس

Continue Reading

News

Penal partnership

Published

on

By



























Penal partnership





























































Copyright © 2020 Jamaica Observer. All Rights Reserved.

Terms under which this service is provided to you.
















Source link

قالب وردپرس

Continue Reading

popcaan