Asia Bibi’s death sentence was temporarily suspended by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in a hearing on Wednesday, July 22. Bibi, a Christian woman was arrested on charges of blasphemy against the Muslim prophet Muhammad in 2009. She received the death sentence for violating Article 295C of Pakistan’s penal code in 2010. After six years in prison, she has been given the opportunity to appeal the original verdict to Supreme Court Justices.
“The execution of Asia Bibi has been suspended and will remain suspended until the decision of this appeal," said lawyer Saif-ul-Malook.
Bibi, a farm worker and a mother of five was indicted after Muslim women accused her of blasphemy. Bibi was harvesting falsa berries in Lahore, when she grew thirsty. She drank water from a nearby well, utilizing an “old metal cup” that was beside the well. Bibi offered the water to a woman. It was at that moment that another women called it “haram,” which means forbidden. The Muslims said that she had contaminated their water supply. They told her to convert to the Muslim religion.
“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?” said Bibi in “Blasphemy: A Memoir,” written by Anne Isabelle Tollet.
Naveed Aziz, a member of the British Pakistani Christian Association said that “international pressure” is what led to the decision of postponing Bibi’s execution. Aziz told Christian Today that Bibi’s “freedom is now a real possibility and only a matter of time.”