Religious Fanaticism Prevails Over Pakistan’s Court

Oct 24, 2016

By Farahnaz Ispahani and Nina Shea

The fate of an illiterate berry picker on death row for blasphemy has gripped Pakistan in a furor of religious fanaticism. Few examples better illustrate the misplaced priorities of the Pakistani government and the country’s Islamist ideologues.

Asia Bibi was scheduled to appear before Pakistan’s Supreme Court last week. She was arrested in 2009 following an angry dispute with her fellow field hands over whether she, a Christian, was too impure to sip from a cup of water she had fetched for them. The mother of five denies that she blasphemed, and has testified that she was merely professing her Christian faith.

At her initial trial, Ms. Bibi’s inexperienced lawyer failed to cross-examine the two witnesses or object to errors in the proceedings. Ms. Bibi was convicted under Pakistan’s 1986 blasphemy law and sentenced to death by hanging.

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2 comments on “Religious Fanaticism Prevails Over Pakistan’s Court

  • It seems there are other countries where the legal system is dominated by religious fanaticism!

    A British woman has been charged with having extra-marital sex in Dubai after reporting she was raped, according to a UK-based legal advice group.
    The Detained in Dubai group said the woman was arrested after she claimed she being raped by two British men.

    It said she has been released on bail but her passport has been confiscated.

    The Foreign Office said: “We are supporting a British woman in relation to this case and will remain in contact with her family.”

    The woman, who is in her 20s, was reportedly attacked by two men from Birmingham while she was on holiday.

    According to Detained in Dubai, the alleged attackers have had no charges filed against them.

    However, according to newspaper reports, the two men have also had their passports confiscated.

    It is understood that the Foreign Office is supporting the two men and is in contact with their families.

    Detained in Dubai said the woman may face trial for the charges – for which possible punishments include imprisonment, deportation, flogging and even stoning to death.

    Radha Stirling, founder and director of Detained in Dubai, said the UAE had a long history of penalising rape victims.

    “We have been involved with several cases in the past where this has happened, and we work with the lawyers and families and have campaigned to change attitudes in the police and judiciary.

    “Recent cases… show that it is still not safe for victims to report these crimes to the police without the risk of suffering a double punishment”.

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