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Supreme Court delays verdict on Aasia Bibi blasphemy appeal

South Asia

Supreme Court delays verdict on Aasia Bibi blasphemy appeal

Aasia Bibi. Photo credit: Facebook

Pakistan Christian, Aasia Bibi who has been under an eight-year death sentence ordeal on charges of blasphemy, now faces a further delay. A three-judge panel at Pakistan’s Supreme Court delayed handing down its verdict on Aasia Bibi’s final appeal.

If the Supreme Court refuses to grant her appeal against the sentence Aasia could face execution.

Her only remaining recourse to avoid the mandatory death penalty would be a direct appeal to Pakistan’s president for clemency. A previous planned hearing of her case by the Supreme Court collapsed in October 2016 after one of the three judges assigned recused himself. It has taken nearly two years for her case to finally come before the court, but no date has been given for when the judges will announce their ruling.

Aasia Bibi was sentenced to death for “blasphemy” in 2010 after she was accused of insulting Muhammad by Muslim female field labourers with whom she worked. They had refused to drink water she had fetched because she was a Christian. She was found guilty of “defiling the name of Muhammad” under Section 295-C of the Pakistani Penal code, which is capital offence. A number of Christians and others are currently on death row, but to date no one has been executed under the 295-C “blasphemy” law.