Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who spent eight years on death row, has arrived in Canada and been reunited with her family. She left Pakistan fearing for her safety after successfully appealing her blasphemy conviction.
Asia was arrested in 2009 after allegedly blaspheming against the Prophet Muhammad during a conversation with a Muslim woman. Blasphemy against Islam is a sensitive issue in Pakistan and can often be used to target the country’s religious minorities, including Christians.
After being found guilty of blasphemy, Asia was sentenced to death.
“I cried alone, putting my head in my hands,” Asia said. “I still hear them; the crowd who gave the judge a standing ovation, saying: ‘Kill her, kill her!’ I was then thrown like an old rubbish sack into the van… I had lost all humanity in their eyes.”
Asia’s case drew international attention and criticism of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. In 2015, she appealed her death sentence. Despite a lack of evidence against her, the appeals lasted years. The Supreme Court judges ruling on her case received threats from extremist groups who opposed Asia’s release.
Finally, in October 2018, the judges acquitted Asia of all wrongdoing and released her. Though she was initially unable to leave the country, she is now free to travel, and has relocated to Canada following repeated death threats from Islamic extremist groups.
Amnesty International’s Deputy South Asia Director, Omar Waraich, said, “It’s a great relief that Asia Bibi and her family are safe. She should never have been imprisoned in the first place, let alone faced the death penalty. That she then had to endure repeated threats to her life, even after being acquitted, only compounds the injustice. This case illustrates the dangers of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws and the urgent need to repeal them.”
Pakistan is the fifth most dangerous country to live as a Christian according to the 2019 World Watch List.
Pray For Pakistan:
- Praise God that Asia Bibi safely arrived in Canada and was reunited with her family.
- Pray God will strengthen other Pakistani Christians facing blasphemy charges.
- Pray those who are persecuting Christians will meet Jesus and have their hearts transformed.
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