[JURIST] Pakistan’s Lahore High Court [official website] on Thursday upheld the death sentence for Aasiya Noreen (better known as Asia Bibi), who was convicted of blasphemy in 2010. Bibi, a Christian woman, was alleged to have insulted the Prophet Mohammed [CNN report] while working in a field with several Muslim women. Bibi maintains that she never blasphemed against the Prophet, but that she had an argument with the other fieldhands over a pot of water. The lower court convicted Bibi for blasphemy [Huffington Post report], stating that there was no chance Bibi was falsely implicated, and there were “no mitigating circumstances.”
Pakistan has faced international scrutiny in recent years for its enforcement of blasphemy laws [JURIST news archive]. In July, a Pakistan court convicted and sentenced a man to death for blasphemy [JURIST report], after he was arrested in 2008 for writing blasphemous statements against Islam on walls. In June three independent UN human rights experts on Monday urged Pakistan to adopt urgent legislation [JURIST report] to put an end to faith-based killings and protect the country’s Ahmadiyya Muslim community, whose faith is currently outlawed. Many Ahmadiyya Muslims are convicted of blasphemy for practicing their faith. In May Punjabi police filed charges of blasphemy against 68 lawyers [JURIST report], mostly from Pakistan’s Shiite minority, for protesting police actions. In March a Pakistani judge sentenced a Christian man to death for blasphemy [JURIST report], after the Christian’s argument with a friend set off a riot in which an angered Muslim crowd set fire to a Christian town last March.