Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy in Pakistan

A Pakistani court has sentenced a Christian mother of five to death for blasphemy, the first such conviction for a woman, sparking protests from rights groups yesterday. Asia Bibi, 45, pictured, was condemned on Monday by a court in Nankana, a city in Punjab about 75 kilometres west of Lahore. Pakistan has yet to execute anyone for blasphemy, but the case spotlights its controversial laws on the subject, which rights activists say encourage Islamist extremism in a nation wracked by Taliban attacks. Ms. Asia’s case dates back to June 2009, when she was asked to fetch water while working in the fields. But a group of Muslim women labourers objected, saying as a non-Muslim, she should not touch the water bowl. A few days later , the women told a local cleric Ms. Asia made derogatory remarks about the Prophet Muhammad. The cleric went to police, who opened an investigation. Sentencing her to hang, Judge Naveed Iqbal “totally ruled out” any chance Ms. Asia was falsely implicated and said there were “no mitigating circumstances.”

via Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy in Pakistan.

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