The story of Asia Bibi, the Pakistani woman condemned to death for blasphemy

It was just a few lines in an English-speaking Pakistani newspaper, but that’s all it took to change the course of history. It was November 2010. Asia Bibi, a young Pakistani Christian mother, was sentenced to death for blasphemy. Pope Benedict XVI expressed his “spiritual solidarity” with Asia Bibi and called for her fundamental rights to be respected. The sentence, as well as the swift reaction of the pontiff at the time, created a small shock wave in the community of journalists and correspondents present in the country, including French journalist Anne-Isabelle Tollet.

“I remember this moment perfectly,” she told Aleteia. “Just after my report, the Pakistani minister for minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti, came to see me and said, ‘I saw you talked about Asia Bibi, and that’s good because I’d like to talk about the situation more seriously: if there isn’t a big international mobilization, Asia Bibi is going to die.’” For almost 10 years, Anne-Isabelle Tollet was to become Asia Bibi’s spokesperson, fighting tirelessly for her liberation. On October 31, 2018, Asia Bibi was acquitted, and she was released from prison on the night of November 7.

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An amazing woman.

Let’s be honest. She was sentenced to death for the ‘crime of being a Christian.’

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Blasphemy laws are often ambiguous and so even stuff like publicly wearing a crucifix or signing oneself could be interpreted as violating a blasphemy law. They are often used to persecute minorities.

In that case, I wonder why she was acquitted. Did she renounce her faith, by any chance?

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