Pak blasphemy convict Aasia Bibi's appeal at least two years away

Islamabad, June 30 (ANI): Aasia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman sentenced to death on blasphemy charges, will be imprisoned for at least another two years before her appeal is likely to come up before the Lahore High Court.

Bibi, 45, has been jailed since June 19, 2009, when her neighbours accused her of making derogatory remarks about the Holy Prophet.

An additional district and sessions judge convicted and sentenced her to death in November 2010, pending confirmation of the decision by the LHC.

According to the Express Tribune, the case attracted the attention of then Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer, who visited Bibi in jail and denounced her conviction and the blasphemy law. Taseer was later killed by his own bodyguard.

Some two-and-a-half years later, Bibi is waiting for a date to be fixed for the hearing of her appeal.

The court has a large backlog of cases and is currently hearing appeals filed at the end of 2008 and beginning of 2009, the report said.

According to the report, the LHC cause list shows that some cases from 2010, 2011 and 2012 are being heard out of turn by the court.

Aslam Pervez Sahotra, the chairman of the Human Liberation Commission Pakistan, a group that lobbies for greater awareness of human rights, said he had sent a request to the chief justice of Pakistan that Bibi's appeal be heard as soon as possible, but had received no response, the report added. (ANI)

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