Thursday, Jul 9th 2015
Asia Bibi, now 50, has spent five years languishing on Pakistan’s death row
She was sentenced to die after sharing a water cup with Muslim colleagues
But she may not live to face execution as she suffers serious health issues
Bibi has intestinal bleeding, vomits blood and has constant chest pains
By Corey Charlton for MailOnline
Published: 09:37 GMT, 30 June 2015 | Updated: 09:41 GMT, 30 June 2015
Asia Bibi has languished in a Pakistani prison cell for five years and is now so weak she cannot walk
A Christian woman on death row in Pakistan for drinking from the same cup as Muslims is suffering from intestinal bleeding and is so weak she cannot walk.
There are fears Asia Bibi, now 50, may not even live to face execution after languishing in jail for five years after receiving her death sentence.
Bibi, a mother-of-five, has been on death row since November 2010 after she was convicted of insulting Mohammed during a row with Muslim co-workers over a bowl of water.
Following a visit from her family last week, it was discovered Bibi was vomiting blood, had difficulty eating and was suffering from constant chest pains, The Global Dispatch reported.
Blasphemy is a hugely sensitive issue in majority Muslim Pakistan country, with even unproven allegations often prompting mob violence.
Although her legal team filed an appeal in the hopes of having the sentence reduced to a jail term, late last year a high court in Lahore confirmed the sentence.
It came despite Bibi making an impassioned plea to supporters in an open letter.
‘You are my only hope of staying alive in this dungeon, so please don’t abandon me,’ she said. ‘I did not commit blasphemy.’
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.
She was asked to fetch water, but the Muslim women objected, saying that as a non-Muslim she was unfit to touch the water bowl.
A few days later the women went to a local cleric and put forward the blasphemy allegations.
Her lawyers have alleged evidence was manipulated, and say there was a long delay between the time of the incident and its investigation by police.
Defence lawyer Saiful Malook said the blasphemy allegation was concocted by Bibi’s enemies to target her and had no basis in fact.
It came in addition to a personal plea from Bibi’s husband Ashiq Masih to Pakistan’s President Mamnoon Hussain, asking for her to be pardoned and allowed to move to France.
‘We are convinced that Asia will only be saved from being hanged if the venerable President (Mamnoon) Hussain grants her a pardon. No one should be killed for drinking a glass of water,’ he wrote in the New York Times.
Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo has said the couple are welcomed in the city, and Masih quoted his wife as saying she sent her ‘deepest thanks to you Madame Mayor, and to all the kind people of Paris and across the world’.
Ashiq Masih, Bibi’s husband made an impassioned plea last year in the hope his wife would be pardoned
Bibi’s message from jail read: ‘My prison cell has no windows and day and night are the same to me, but if I am still holding on today it is thanks to everyone who is trying to help me. When my husband showed me the photographs of people I have never met drinking a glass of water for me, my heart overflowed.
‘Ashiq told me that the city of Paris is offering to welcome our family. I send my deepest thanks to you Madam Mayor, and to all the kind people of Paris and across the world.
‘You are my only hope of staying alive in this dungeon, so please don’t abandon me. I did not commit blasphemy.’
Mr 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.
He visits his wife once a month, making a five-and-a-half hour journey to her jail in Multan in southern Punjab.
Amnesty International has raised ‘serious concerns’ about the fairness of her trial and has called for her release.
Anyone convicted, or even just accused, of insulting Islam in Pakistan, risks a violent and bloody death at the hands of vigilantes.
Helen61, Leicester, United Kingdom, 1 week ago
I am disgusted that Asia is still held in prison from drinking from the same cup as Muslims . Please can common sense prevail does it matter if we are Muslims or Christians. Let us please show compassion.
Marc., Java, Indonesia, 1 week ago
religion and reason do not go together.
derrm77, Derby, United Kingdom, 1 week ago
and Pakistan still receives millions in u.k foreign aid money
Jackie, London, United Kingdom, 1 week ago
Between 2010-2015 Pakistan will have received £1.4 bn in aid from the UK. Why are we giving them aid anyway but importantly why are we giving aid to a country were the state encourages such barbarity as this case?
Lindsay999, Cheltenham, 1 week ago
Good grief. The extent of their ignorance is breathtaking. Her imprisonment is nothing more than religous bigotry. Free this woman immediately and get her the medical attention she needs.
Seth, London, United Kingdom, 1 week ago
How can drinking water from a cup deserve the death penalty?
johndrake, dublin, Ireland, 1 week ago
crazy laws . drinking from a cup . and to be killed for it . insane