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Pakistan’s Supreme Court Acquits Christian Woman, Asia Bibi of Blasphemy

The Pakistan Supreme Court acquitted Asia Bibi of the death sentence Wednesday, ordering her release before a packed courtroom.

Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar announced the long-awaited verdict. She’s reportedly been taken to an undisclosed location and some expect she and her family will leave the country.

Her husband, Ashiq Masih, praised the court’s decision.

“I am very happy. My children are very happy. We are grateful to God. We are grateful to the judges for giving us justice. We knew that she is innocent,” he said.

The 51-year-old Christian mother was arrested in 2009 after her Muslim co-workers accused her of insulting the Muslim prophet Mohammed – an offense punishable by death in Pakistan.

Bibi says she was falsely accused and is very respectful of Muslims and Mohammed.

The alleged incident occurred when Bibi took a sip of water while she was working. Her Muslim colleagues accused her of contaminating the water because she was a Christian.

She’s been sitting in prison ever since with the threat of violent execution hanging over her head.

Human rights activists have been working around the clock for the last several years to appeal the Pakistani court’s death sentence.

No Pakistani Christian has been held on blasphemy charges longer than Bibi. If she loses her final appeal, she could be put to death.

Pakistan’s 295-C blasphemy law is based on sharia (Islamic law) which mandates execution for those found guilty of committing blasphemy against Mohammed.

However, if the court decides to free Bibi, she is likely not safe.

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Other prisoners freed on blasphemy charges have been murdered by Islamic extremists. Muslim radicals assassinated former Punjab Governor Salman Taseer and Shabbaz Bhatti in 2011. Both men supported Bibi and had called for an end to Pakistan’s Blasphemy Law.

“Clearly she will need asylum in a western country where she can live out the remainder of her days in peace,” Wilson Chowdhry, chairman of the British Pakistani Christians Association, told CBN News.

“These charges have been proven false time and again and it is time for her to return home to her family.  We hope this time she will be completely exonerated and this wrongful conviction will finally be overturned as this is her last chance to be heard at court.”

The Church in Pakistan is urging believers around the world to pray for the success of her appeal. Meanwhile, Bibi’s husband Ashiq said Asia is confident she will soon be released from prison.

In 2016, her family gave a statement from Bibi to an Italian newspaper, La Stampa, saying, “I forgive my persecutors, those who have falsely accused me, and I await their forgiveness…I do not hate those who did me wrong.”

CBN News

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