Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Asia Bibi says she was raped by accusers

Pakistani woman Asia Bibi, who has been sentenced to death for blasphemy, says she was raped at the hands of her accusers.
This is what she told the Governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer, who visited Asia in prison two days ago, Fides reports.
Following their conversation, the governor said that the woman “signed an appeal of clemency to President Ali Zardari” and said that she affirms her story, which she will “personally report to the President.”
Bibi says she is innocent, but groups of Islamic fundamentalists have already threatened to kill her if she goes free, Fides says.
Meanwhile, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has said he intends to issue a pardon for Bibi, Radio Vatican adds.
Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, has also appealed for her release.
Speaking to Vatican Radio Archbishop Lawrence John Saldanha of Lahore says Bibi’s case highlights “how dangerous (Pakistan’s blasphemy) laws are and how from something so small, such as an argument between a group of women, something so serious can take place”.
The Archbishop adds that the infamous blasphemy laws target all civil society as a whole; “since they were first introduced over 1000 cases have been reported"
However he adds, “there can be no comparison in how they affect the minorities. For example when a Christian is accused of blasphemy then his or her family and the entire Christian community often pay the consequences”, which can come in the form of discrimination, persecution and even violence.
Instead “when a Muslim is accused of blasphemy then he or she as an individual pays and no one else”.

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