Supreme Court reserves verdict on Asia Bibi’s appeal against execution

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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday reserved its verdict in the final appeal of Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman on death row for blasphemy since 2010, after taking up the case for hearing nearly four years after it was filed.

A three-member bench of the top court, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, heard the arguments from both sides and reserved judgement on Bibi’s appeal filed in 2014, barring comment and speculation on the case in the media.No date, however, was given as to when the verdict will be announced. No date has been announced by the court for when the verdict will be announced.

Asia Bibi was convicted for blasphemy under Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code for allegedly defaming Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). The offence carries the mandatory death penalty under Pakistani law.

The allegations against Bibi are that she made three “defamatory and sarcastic” statements about the Holy Prophet on June 14, 2009 during an argument with three Muslim women while the four of them were picking fruit in a field.

The prosecution had claimed that Bibi “admitted” making these statements at a “public gathering” on June 19, 2009 “while asking for forgiveness”.

A trial court had convicted Bibi for blasphemy in November 2010 and sentenced her to death. The Lahore High Court (LHC) had upheld her conviction and confirmed her death sentence in October 2014. The Supreme Court had admitted her appeal for hearing in July 2015.