A Pakistani Christian woman has been sentenced to death for insulting the Prophet Muhammad. Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of four has been sentenced for blasphemy, the first woman to receive this punishment.
While working as a berry picker in 2009, Bibi had gotten into a dispute with a group of Muslim women who refused to share water with her, as they believed, Bibi being a Christian would pollute it. One of the women from the group accused Bibi of making blasphemous remarks about Prophet Muhammad during the spat, following which, an angry mob marched to her home and savagely beat her up, along with other members of her family.
Bibi was later arrested and charged with blasphemy and eventually sentenced to death. Her entire family had to hide after receiving death threats from people who offended by the alleged remarks against the Prophet. It has been understood that even two politicians who stood in support of Bibi were assassinated, one by his own bodyguard.
The killer was celebrated in Pakistan as the woman who supposedly made a few derogatory remarks rotted in jail for four years. The lawyers showered him with rose petals when the killer appeared in court and the judge who convicted him had to flee Pakistan fearing death threats.
However, the news had sparked international outrage, with hundreds of thousands of supporters across the world singing petitions to get her released from the jail. However, with the latest judgement, it has been understood that despite international backing, Bibi is still facing a death sentence.
Bibi's lawyer, Naeem Shakir, said her accusers have contradicted themselves many times since first raising their complaint and two of them didn't even attend the hearing. A Muslim prayer leader, who was present during the hearing, said that although he did not witness the original altercation, Bibi had confessed to the supposed crime in front of him, Daily Mail reported.
Shakir, who was hopeful of an opposite decision said, "We will file an appeal to the Supreme Court of Pakistan in a few days."
Gulam Mustafa, the lawyer for the complainant, hailing the court's decision said, "Asia's lawyer tried to prove that the case was registered on a personal enmity but he failed to prove it".
Bibi, 45, was handed down the death penalty by a court in the Nankara district in central Punjab.