After two postponed trails, the appeal for Asia Bibi, a Christian woman fallaciously charged and sentenced to death for blasphemy is ready for hearing on Wednesday 26 March. Head of her defense team Christian lawyer Naeem Shakir, is preparing the fact and details for the defense with the objective to prove that “the charges against her, for all time have been bogus”.
The trial has been delayed twice and the Court management has been on strike lately, but her lawyer says that he has “high hopes” for Wednesday’s hearing.
For the time being, he said, Asia Bibi is in the women’s jail in Multan “in good health and strictly guarded for protection motives. She prays and hopes”, he said.
Now it has been four years since Asia Bibi has been in prison. A working group of the European Parliament on freedom of religion wrote on 19 March: “We welcome the decision of the Lahore High Court to initiate the trial appeal for Asia Bibi. We note with regret that, in two hearings, the judges were on leave. We trust that the judges appointed are present for the third hearing”.
“We call on all those involved in the case to show courage and not to give in to any pressure or external threat. We ask the government of Pakistan to safeguard the independence and effective functioning of the Lahore High Court. In addition, we urge the Pakistani authorities to provide adequate protection for all persons involved in the case, now and after a possible, future judicial decision”.
“The group will continue to follow this case closely, as well as other cases involving the blasphemy laws in Pakistan that the European Parliament calls to reform, in order to avoid abuse, or repeal.”