Pakistan court upholds death for blasphemy

Pakistan's Lahore High Court on Oct. 16 upheld the death sentence for Aasiya Noreen (better known as Asia Bibi), who was convicted of blasphemy in 2010. Bibi, a Christian woman, was alleged to have insulted the Prophet Mohammed while working in a field with several Muslim women. Bibi maintains that she never blasphemed against the Prophet, but that she had an argument with the other field-hands over a pot of water. The lower court convicted Bibi for blasphemy, stating that there was no chance Bibi was falsely implicated, and there were "no mitigating circumstances."

Pakistan has faced international scrutiny in recent years for its enforcement of blasphemy laws. In July, a Pakistan court convicted and sentenced a man to death for blasphemy, after he was arrested in 2008 for writing blasphemous statements against Islam on walls. In June three independent UN human rights experts urged Pakistan to adopt legislation to put an end to faith-based killings. In May Punjabi police filed charges of blasphemy against 68 lawyers, mostly from Pakistan's Shi'ite minority, for protesting police actions. In March a Pakistani judge sentenced a Christian man to death for blasphemy, after the Christian's argument with a friend set off a riot in which an angered Muslim crowd set fire to a Christian town.

From Jurist, Oct. 17. Used with permission.