ASIA/PAKISTAN - An application to the Supreme Court: a new judge for Asia Bibi’s trial

Friday, 14 October 2016 blasphemy   asia bibi   islam   religious minorities   justice  

Islamabad (Agenzia Fides) - To appoint another judge immediately or a new college to hear the case of Asia Bibi: as Fides learns, this is the request sent to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court by Asia Bibi’s legal defense, following the postponement of the hearing regarding the case of blasphemy. The Christian woman sentenced at first instance and on appeal, awaits the judgment of the Supreme Court. Asia’s lawyers are confident that the Court can set a new hearing within a few weeks.
"Even after the postponement we are still very hopeful that at the next hearing the charges against Asia will be dropped" says to Fides Nasir Saeed, Director of the NGO "CLAAS" (Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement), who follows the case and provides free legal assistance to many other Christians accused unjustly and are in need of a legal defense.
"But - he added - I am also scared that there can be tremendous repercussions for the Christians in Pakistan. If her conviction is upheld, then she can appeal to the president of Pakistan, who has the power to grant a pardon".
Nasir Saeed says that undoubtedly "pressure will be further built by Islamists groups" and recalled that "so far no one has been executed for blasphemy in Pakistan". "It is very important that the government takes this matter seriously and takes security measures before the appeal hearing" and asked the institutions to "ensure protection and assistance to victims of false accusations of blasphemy and to their families". (PA) (14/10/2016)