Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of five, was on death row since 2010. She was accused of committing blasphemy in 2009. A trial court had found her guilty of the crime and awarded her the death sentence.
The Lahore High Court (LHC) upheld the sentence.
In 2011, former Punjab governor Salman Taseer, who spoke out in support of Asia Bibi, was gunned down in broad daylight in Islamabad. His assassin Mumtaz Qadri was executed earlier in 2016 after the court found him guilty of murder.
The lawyers of Asia Bibi approached the Supreme Court as a last resort, seeking repeal of her sentence.
A special three-member SC bench on October 8 reserved its judgementon Bibi’s appeal. At the time, no date had been announced by the court for when the verdict would be announced.
The SC on Oct 31 acquitted Asia Bibi, after accepting her 2015 appeal against her sentence.
In October 2016, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) released Questions and Answers about the Asia Bibi case.
The Q&A explains the allegations against Bibi and describes her blasphemy trial and appeal before the LHC.
What are the allegations against Asia Bibi and when was she convicted?
Asia Bibi was convicted for blasphemy under section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code for allegedly defaming Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The offence carries mandatory death penalty under Pakistani law.
The allegations against Asia Bibi are that she made three “defamatory and sarcastic” statements about the Prophet (PBUH) on June 14, 2009, during an argument with three Muslim women while the four of them were picking fruit in a field.