Pakistani court blocks the pardon of condemned Christian mother

Pakistani Christian mother-of-four Asia Bibi was sentenced to death earlier this month for “insulting Islam.” This morning, her request for a presidential pardon was blocked by a state court, even after at least two government officials said she was innocent.

The Lahore high court today barred [President Asif Ali] Zardari from pardoning Bibi in a petition filed by Shahid Iqbal, a Pakistani citizen. Iqbal’s lawyer Allah Bux Laghari told Reuters a pardon was illegal as the court was already hearing an appeal against her sentence.

“We believe it is the court’s duty to evaluate the evidence against her, not individuals, and if she is found innocent, she should be freed,” he said….

Blasphemy convictions are common although the death sentence has never been carried out. Most convictions are thrown out on appeal, but angry mobs have killed many people accused of blasphemy.

Sorry to start the week off with bad news. Let’s pray for our brothers and sisters living under persecution.

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Brian Saint-Paul was the editor and publisher of Crisis Magazine. He has a BA in Philosophy and an MA in Religious Studies from the Catholic University of America, in Washington. D.C. In addition to various positions in journalism and publishing, he has served as the associate director of a health research institute, a missionary, and a private school teacher. He lives with his wife in a historic Baltimore neighborhood, where he obsesses over Late Antiquity.

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