Pakistani court rejects death penalty for ‘blasphemous’ Christian woman
The Pakistani Asia Bibi has been acquitted of blasphemy. The Christian woman was sentenced to death by a Pakistani court for that fact, but the Supreme Court converted that sentence into acquittal.
In 2010, Bibi was the first woman to receive the death penalty from a lower court according to a blasphemy law in the mainly Islamic country. The case caused international fuss.
The mother of four children would have made derogatory remarks about the Prophet Muhammad after an argument about drinking water with a Muslim from her village. Bibi has always denied that and says that she has been falsely accused.
The chairman of the Supreme Court referred to the Koran in his statement. He stated that tolerance is one of the basic principles of Islam. Bibi’s lawyer praised the court because it did not succumb under pressure: “This is great news for Pakistan and the world.”
The decision of the court immediately led to a stir in Pakistan. The radical Islamic TLP party believes that the judges involved deserve death themselves. Supporters of the party blocked out of protest roads in Karachi and Lahore.
The TLP was also behind the large-scale protests in Pakistan because of the cartoon contest about Prophet Mohammed who wanted to organize Geert Wilders. Wilders eventually blew off the cartoon contest.
According to critics, the blasphemy law is regularly misused to prosecute religious minorities.