Christian woman in Pakistan escapes death penalty for refusing to convert to Islam

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A Pakistani woman escaped the death penalty after the Pakistan Supreme Court dismissed a death sentence against her for blasphemy, over her refusal to convert to Islam, in a historic ruling yesterday.

47-year-old Asia Bibi, a Christian farm laborer, earned the wrath of her fellow Muslim labourers when she drank some water from their cup almost a decade ago, then refused to convert to Islam.

Accusing Bibi of insulting Muslim prophet Muhammad when she refused to convert, the people handed her over to the authorities and Bibi was convicted for blasphemy – a charge which typically carries an automatic death sentence – in 2010.

Yesterday, the High Court concluded that no strong evidence was presented to the court about Bibi’s crime and dismissed the case against her. According to CNN, the ruling said:

“Even if there was some grain of truth in the allegations leveled in this case against the appellant still the glaring contradictions in the evidence of the prosecution highlighted above clearly show that the truth in this case had been mixed with a lot which was untrue.”

Dissatisfied, some protesters are still calling for Bibi to be executed. One politician, chief of the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Party Afzal Qadri, even said that the high court judges who dismissed the case are now liable to be put to death.