Three-judge panel agrees to stay death sentence and consider Asia Bibi's appeal
Bibi was convicted in 2010 of defiling the name of the Prophet Mohammed
In a 2012 book, "Get Me Out of Here," Bibi wrote a letter to her family urging them to keep the faith
Pakistan’s Supreme Court agreed Wednesday to hear an appeal by a Christian woman who has been sentenced to death for blasphemy.
A three-member panel of Supreme Court judges in Lahore said it would consider the appeal and ordered that the death sentence for Asia Bibi be stayed, according Bibi’s lawyer, Saiful Malook.
She was convicted of blasphemy in 2010. An appeal to the high court was rejected last October. No date had been set for the execution.
Bibi, a mother of five from Punjab province, was accused of defiling the name of the Prophet Mohammed during a 2009 argument with Muslim fellow field workers. The workers had refused to drink from a bucket of water she had touched because she was not Muslim.
‘This was their way of taking revenge’
In a press conference in 2010, Bibi said the allegations were lies concocted by a group of women who didn’t like her.
“We had some differences, and this was their way of taking revenge,” she said.
Malook told CNN that, at Wednesday’s hearing, he argued there were discrepancies in the evidence that prosecutors presented at Bibi’s trial.
The lawyer said all records pertaining to the case will now be reviewed by the judges. No date has been set for the appeal hearing.
Initial news of Bibi’s death sentence sparked outrage among international human rights groups, which condemned Pakistan’s blasphemy law as a source of persecution against religious minorities.
Bibi wrote about her ordeal in a 2012 book called “Get Me Out of Here.” The book includes a letter she wrote to her family urging them to have faith in God.
“My children,” she wrote, “don’t lose courage or faith in Jesus Christ.”
Adeel Raja reported in Islamabad, Sophia Saifi reported in Karachi, Pakistan, and CNN’s Don Melvin reported and wrote in London.