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Asia Bibi’s appeal hearing postponed

One of the three judges scheduled to preside at the hearing said he could not hear the case

The appeal of Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy, has been postponed.

Justice Muhammad Iqbal Hameed-ur-Rehman, one of three judges who met in Islamabad to hear the appeal, said that he could not hear the case due to his involvement in a related case.

The Supreme Court judge said he had overseen the appeal hearing of Mumtaz Qadri who was convicted of murdering Salmaan Taseer, a prominent politician who had campaigned for Bibi to be released.

Bibi’s lawyer Saif-ul-Mulook said that it could take weeks or months for the hearing to be rescheduled.

Bibi was accused of blasphemy after arguing with two Muslim women in her village in Punjab in 2009.

According to a report in the Guardian, Ghulam Mustafa Chaudhry, the lawyer, who leads a group called the Movement for the Finality of the Prophethood, said Bibi had already been found guilty by two courts. “When they execute her it will stop other people from committing blasphemy," he said.

Meanwhile, the Shuhuada Foundation, a group connected to Islamabad’s Red Mosque, said that its supporters would take to the streets and become “a centre for the anti-government movement" if Bibi was released.


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