10/08/2018, 10.21
PAKISTAN
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Pakistan, Asia Bibi's lawyer: Good reason to hope for acquittal

Today the final hearing before the Supreme Court judgement. The trial has been delayed on  numerous occassions for security reasons. A death sentence for blasphemy hangs over the Christian mother. Appeals for justice and prayers from all over the world on social media.

 

Islamabad (AsiaNews / Agencies) - There is a good chance that Asia Bibi will be acquitted. Saiful Malook, the lawyer for the Christian mother accused of blasphemy and imprisoned in Multan for nine years, told AP. 

Today the final hearing opens with the judges of the Supreme Court, who will have to decide whether to confirm the death sentence. On the eve of the trial, which has not yet started, the lawyer has good hope of victory and, if not, will ask for a revision of the sentence.

In a telephone interview, lawyer Malook said confidently: "I am 100% sure that [Asia] will be acquitted. We have a good case". Meanwhile, as soon as the news of the date of the final hearing was announced, which had been long awaited because of numerous postponements, social media was awash with messages of support, under the hashtags #FreeAsiaBibi, #JeSuisAsiaBibi and #BasphemyLaw, with pages dedicated to her. Prayers and wishes have arrived from all over the world. One user with the name Khurram wrote: "It is time for this madness to end. Too much blood has already been paid for this tragedy. The Court will do the right thing and correct the mistakes ". Wajahat Abbas Kazmi, a Pakistani activist in Italy, invites people to write to the Pakistani embassy to ask for justice.

In Pakistan the story of the Christian woman is a very sensitive subject. Asia Bibi was arrested in June 2009 because she was accused by her colleagues of contempt of the Prophet Muhammad, but in reality her only "fault" was that she drank from the same water source used by other Muslim women. 

In November 2010 she was sentenced to death by hanging and has since been subjected to an isolation regime in Multan prison, where she is given one hour of air three times a month. During these years she became ill several times and some jailers, who now have close ties with her, let it be known that she does not receive adequate medical treatment.

The story of the Christian mother has polarized society and led to further episodes of violence, not only against Christians, but also towards Muslims who had expressed themselves in their favor. 

The most striking case was the murder of Salman Taseer, governor of Punjab, who was killed in January 2011 by his bodyguard because he had criticized the blasphemy law and had offered to plead the request for pardon for Asia before the president of the Pakistan. The same fate was reserved shortly after, in March, by Shahbaz Bhatti, a Catholic minister for Minorities, one of the most powerful liberal and progressive Pakistani voices.

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