A Christian woman in Pakistan on death row for nearly a decade after she allegedly contaminated a water jug — an offense viewed as blasphemy in the Muslim country — was acquitted by the country’s top court on Wednesday.
Asia Bibi was ordered released eight years after she was sentenced to death in 2010 on blasphemy charges – a landmark ruling that sparked widespread protests around Pakistan by hard-line Islamists and even led to the murder of a local governor. . .
[T]wo women refused to drink from the container she had touched because she was not Muslim. A few days later, a mob accused her of blasphemy after the women went to a local cleric in Sheikhupura – a city in Punjab – to report her. . .
The three-judge panel upheld the blasphemy law itself, saying it was consistent with verses from Islam’s holy book, the Quran. But they said prosecutors had failed to prove that Bibi violated the law. In addition to citing the Quran, the judges also referenced William Shakespeare’s King Lear, saying Bibi was “more sinned against than sinning.”
The ruling sent shockwaves across the country with hundreds of Islamists blocking a key road link the city of Rawalpindi with the capital, Islamabad. Islamists gathered in the country’s largest city, Karachi, in the northwestern city of Peshawar and elsewhere. Police urged demonstrators to disperse peacefully. (Read more from “Huge Win for Freedom: Christian Woman Released After Almost a Decade on Death Row” HERE)