A Christian woman who was sentenced to death in Pakistan, for blasphemy against Islam, has been freed after the countries Supreme Court overturned the sentence.
Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Wednesday overturned the conviction of a Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy against Islam and ordered her freed, a ruling that set off protests by hardline Islamists but was welcomed by human rights advocates.
Supporters of Islamist political party Tehreek-e-Labaik (TLP), which was founded to support Pakistan’s harsh blasphemy laws, immediately condemned the ruling and blocked roads in Karachi, the country’s largest city, and in the city of Lahore.
Chief Justice Saqib Nisar overturned the conviction by the Lahore High Court that had sentenced Asia Bibi, a mother of four, to death in 2010.
“This appeal is allowed. The judgements of the High Court as well as the Trial Court are reversed. Consequently, the conviction as also the sentence of death awarded to the appellant is set aside and she is acquitted of the charge,” Nisar told a packed courtroom.
Her case has outraged Christians worldwide and been a source of division within Pakistan, where two politicians who sought to help Bibi were assassinated.