Martha Bibi, Christian baselessly accused of blasphemy, is released
by Qaiser Felix
Fazal-e-Miran, judge of the Lahore High Court, ordered that the woman be released on bail. Physically weakened, she has not stopped thanking God for the triumph of justice. Activists have called once again for the abolition of the blasphemy law.

Kasur (AsiaNews) - Martha Bibi, a Christian accused without proof of blasphemy was released on bail on 3 May last. Fazal-e-Miran, a judge of the High Court, ordered her release against the payment of 100,000 rupees (around 1,500 euros).

Lawyers of the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA), which followed her case, said the 40-year-old woman was “physically worn out but overjoyed that she survived. She has not stopped thanking God for allowing justice to triumph.”

Martha Bibi, who used to live in the village of Kot Nanak Singh, was accused on 22 January last of making derogatory remarks against the Koran and of “defiling the sacred name of the prophet Muhammad”. She was charged under Article 295C of the Pakistani Criminal Code – the notorious “blasphemy law” – that stipulates very heavy punishments (up to the death penalty) for those who offend the Prophet or the sacred texts of Islam.

In reality, according to local witnesses, the charges were brought by Muslim contractors who did not want to pay for materials supplied to a construction site by Bibi and her husband, a bricklayer.

The chairman of APMA, Shahbaz Bhatti (with Bibi in the photo) told AsiaNews: “This case and the release order show once again that the blasphemy law only serves as a means to settle personal disputes, always to the detriment of minorities. This is why it should be completely abolished.”

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