Jailed Christian mother acquitted by Supreme Court after eight years. But threats of violent nationwide protests persist.
[This story is breaking and will be updated.]
Today the Supreme Court of Pakistan acquitted Asia Bibi of committing blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad, a crime punishable with death in the Muslim nation, amid threats of countywide paralyzing protests and “horrible” consequences to justices and army generals if the Christian mother of five was released.
In their final judgment, reviewed by CT, the panel of three judges ruled that Bibi was “wrongly” accused by two sisters with the help of a local cleric, and that her alleged extrajudicial confession was not voluntary but instead resulted from “coercion and undue pressure” due to a gathering of people who threatened to kill her.
“Therefore, the appellant being innocent deserves acquittal,” the judges concluded.
Bibi’s husband Ashiq Masih and their two daughters, currently in London, anxiously await her safe release and reunion with her after eight years of wrongful detention.
However, Agence France-Presse has reported that the Red Mosque [Lal Masjid]—a significant mosque in the capital, Islamabad, which played a pivotal role in the 1980s and ’90s in recruiting and training mujaheedin for the Soviet-Afghan war—filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court to put Bibi’s name “on the no-fly list” so that she could not leave the country. The Red Mosque “will become a center for the anti-government movement” if she is released, reported The Express Tribune.
“We are breathing a sigh of relief today,” stated David Curry, CEO of Open Doors USA, “… as these charges stemmed from her Christian identity as well as false accusations against her. We are hopeful that …
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