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Christian woman sentenced to death in Pakistan

37-year-old mother of two sentenced to death after she got into a row about religion with her co-workers.

A CHRISTIAN WOMAN has been sentenced to death in Pakistan after she was accused of blasphemy.

The woman, 37-year-old Asia Bibi, got involved in a row with other farmhands in the field in Ittanwali in the Punjab province where she worked in June 2009, after she went to fetch clean drinking water.

The Telegraph reports that some of the other women – all Muslims – refused to drink the water as it had been brought by a Christian, prompting a row about religion. Bibi reportedly refused to renounce her faith and spoke about her belief that Christ had died on the cross.

A few days later, Bibi was set upon by a mob.

According to the Prisoner Alert site, her captors announced from mosque loudspeakers that she “would be punished by having her face blackened and being paraded through the village on a donkey.”

The police were called by local Christians and took her to a police station for her own safety. Bibi and her family are one of only three Christian families in a village of more than 1,500.

According to reports, she was held in isolation for 17 months before being sentenced to death on Monday.

International campaigners, including Richard Dawkins, are outraged at the ruling.

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Release International’s chief executive, Andy Dipper, expressed his shock at Sunday’s ruling.

Pakistan has crossed a line in passing the death sentence on a woman for blasphemy. Pakistan’s notorious 295C blasphemy laws are wide open to abuse. In effect Asia has been sentenced to death for sharing her Christian faith. In previous cases, the death sentence has not been carried out. But this could well mean a life sentence for Asia in appalling conditions on death row.

Her husband, Ashiq Masih, said he couldn’t bear to tell their children what had happened.

I haven’t told two of my younger daughters about the court’s decision. They asked me many times about their mother but I can’t get the courage to tell them that the judge has sentenced their mother to capital punishment for a crime she never committed.

About the author:

Jennifer O'Connell

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