Published: Wed, October 31, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Full text of Supreme Court ruling in Asia Bibi case

Full text of Supreme Court ruling in Asia Bibi case

The women later went to a local cleric and accused Bibi of blasphemy against the Holy Prophet, a charge punishable by death under legislation that rights groups say is routinely abused to settle personal vendettas.

She was condemned for allegedly making derogatory remarks about Islam after neighbours objected to her drinking water from their glass because she was not Muslim.

The two Muslim women who pressed charges against Bibi denied they quarreled with her, saying her outbursts against Islam were unprovoked. "Her conviction is set aside", the verdict read.

David Curry, CEO of Open Doors USA, an organization that lobbies on behalf of Christian minorities, said in a statement that "we are breathing a sigh of relief today".

Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar announced the verdict to a packed courtroom and ordered Asia Bibi released.

At the Supreme Court hearing earlier this month - a hearing our legal team on the ground in Pakistan attended - Asia Bibi's defense attorney in Pakistan called much of the prosecution's evidence - or lack thereof - into question.

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"The verdict has shown that the poor, the minorities and the lowest segments of society can get justice in this country despite its shortcomings", Bibi's lawyer Saif-ul-Mulook said. "We knew that she is innocent", said Ashiq Masih.

Supreme Court of Pakistan.

Meanwhile, CJP Nisar had observed that committing blasphemy was the most appalling and spiteful offence, and not only "our laws but the fundamentals of our religion also place strict standards of proof to prove the crime".

The alleged incident occurred when Bibi took a sip of water while she was working. His assassin, Mumtaz Qadri, was executed in 2016 and has been feted as a hero by hardliners, with a shrine to him built by Islamists just outside the capital. She is a mother of four, the Reuters news agency notes.

The apex court stayed her execution and began her trial, which attracted protests and demonstrations from Islamist parties in the run-up to the verdict.

It has been a case of high-tension from the outset, with Salman Taseer, a Punjabi governor who supported Ms Bibi, gunned down in broad daylight by his bodyguard in Islamabad in 2011.

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