Home Pakistan A Pakistani Court Sentences A Woman To Life For Blasphemy

A Pakistani Court Sentences A Woman To Life For Blasphemy


A Pakistani court sentenced a Muslim woman to life in prison after finding her guilty of burning pages of Islam’s holy book, a prosecutor said on Friday.

Under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, anyone found guilty of insulting the religion or religious figures can be sentenced up to death. While authorities have yet to carry out a death sentence for blasphemy, just the accusation can provoke riots.

Government prosecutor Mohazib Awais said the woman, Aasiya Bibi, was arrested in 2021 on blasphemy charges after residents claimed she desecrated the Quran by burning its pages. Awais said the judge announced the verdict Wednesday in the eastern city of Lahore. He said Bibi, who has the right to appeal, had denied the charge during her trial.

A Christian woman with the same name was acquitted of blasphemy in 2019 after she spent eight years on death row in Pakistan. She moved to Canada to escape death threats from Islamic extremists upon her release. Wednesday’s case involved a different woman.

Domestic and international human rights groups say blasphemy allegations have often been used to intimidate religious minorities and to settle personal scores., which has been on the rise in the country.

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Earlier in March, another court in Gujranwala, Punjab province, sentenced a 22-year-old student to death and gave a teenager a life sentence in two separate cases after finding them guilty of insulting Prophet Muhammad.

The law has been there since British times, but was given more teeth during the military dictatorship of General Muhammad Zia ul-Haq in the 1980s.

In 2021, former Pakistan PM supported the law and called for Muslim-majority countries to band together to lobby Western governments to criminalise the insulting of Islam’s prophet.

According to reports. Over 85 people have been killed on allegations of blasphemy since 1990. At least 53 people are in custody across Pakistan on blasphemy charges.

With inputs from AP