Pakistan

Asiya Bibi losing hope on death row: family

LAHORE: A Christian woman, Asiya Bibi, condemned to death four years ago for blasphemy is losing hope that she will be freed or pardoned, her husband, who lives in hiding because of his wife’s conviction, told AFP Friday.

Asiya Bibi has been on death row since November 2010 after she was found guilty of making derogatory remarks about the Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him) during an argument with a Muslim woman.

A high court in the eastern city of Lahore confirmed the death sentence two weeks ago, dashing hopes it might be commuted to a jail term.

Speaking to AFP after visiting Bibi for the first time since the Lahore court’s ruling, her husband Ashiq Masih said it had come as a crushing blow.

“Asiya was hopeful that her appeal would be admitted and she would be freed, but now she has lost hope,” Masih told AFP

“She was distraught, weeping for most of the time I had with her, appealing to the Supreme Court and president to use their powers to give her justice.”

No one in Pakistan has been executed for blasphemy and has had a de-facto moratorium on civilian executions since 2008.

Masih, 50, lives in hiding with two of his five children and has to keep his identity secret as he scrapes together a living as a daily labourer.

The allegations against Bibi date back to June 2009, when she was labouring in a field and a row broke out with some Muslim women she was working with.

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