Pakistan - Asia Bibi finally acquitted of blasphemy charges
Asia Bibi, a Christian wife and mother in Pakistan, was on death row in a pakistan prison for the past 8 years for the crime of blasphemy .
Her story began when she was working on the farm of a Muslim landowner Muhammad Idrees. Her family was one of only three Christian families in a village of more than 1,500 families.
According to Bibi's autobiography ‘Blasphemy: A Memoir: Sentenced to Death Over a Cup of Water’ the incident began when she went to retrieve a cup of water from a well during a hot day of fruit picking .
When a Muslim woman nearby saw her doing so she shouted, “Don't drink that water, it's haram (forbidden)!” She then turned to the other women in the field, telling them that Bibi had dirtied the water in the well by drinking from their cup.“Now the water is unclear and we can't drink it! Because of her!” the woman said. Several women called Bibi a “filthy Christian” and told her to convert to Islam.“I’m not going to convert. I believe in my religion and in Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for the sins of mankind. What did your Prophet Mohammed ever do to save mankind? And why should it be me that converts instead of you?” Bibi said. At that point, one woman spat on her while another shoved her.
Days later, she was accused of blasphemy. Then some men took her and locked her in a room. They announced from mosque loudspeakers that she would be punished by having her face blackened and being paraded through the village on a donkey.
Local Christians informed the police, who took Asia into protective custody before the Muslims could carry out their plan. Christians urged the police not to file blasphemy charges, but the police claimed they had to go forward because of pressure from local Muslim leaders.
After a lengthy trial, on Nov. 8, 2010, Asia Bibi was sentenced to death by a judge. The judge also fined Asia $1,190 and told her she had seven days to appeal the decision.
Her attorneys filed an appeal to the High Court of Lahore but it was denied .
They then appealed to the Supreme Court of Pakistan in Islamabad.
On Jan. 4, 2011 the governor of Punjab province, Salman Taseer (a muslim) who had spoken out repeatedly in favor of a pardon for Asia Bibi and for a re-examination of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws was executed . On March 2, 2011, Shahbaz Bhatti, the only Christian member of Pakistan’s cabinet and another person who had spoken out on behalf of Asia Bibi, was also assassinated for his support of her.
On Wednesday she was acquitted of all charges by Pakistan's Supreme Court who ordered her release .
The news of her release sparked a wave of protests organised by Pakistan's TLP party (Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP), a hardline religious political party -- which had a strong showing in nationwide elections earlier this year . In a press conference aired via YouTube they threatened Judges with a "horrible" end if Bibi was released .
Below : The daughters of Asia Bibi hold up a picture of their Mother.
Below : Asia Bibi with the then governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer in 2010 ... Salman was executed shortly afterwards , for his support of Asia .