Pakistani Christian couple acquitted of blasphemy after 7 years on death row

Shagufta Kausar and Shafqat Emmanuel faced execution for allegedly sending ‘blasphemous’ texts to a mosque cleric, from a phone containing a sim registered in Shagufta’s name. The couple have consistently denied all allegations and believe Shagufta’s National Identity Card was purposely misused. Imprisoned since 2013, the couple were convicted and sentenced to death in April 2014. Their appeal was due to be heard in April 2020, six years after they
were sentenced, but it was postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. At their last two hearings in 2021, the judges left the court as they were due to hear the appeal against their death sentences,
The Pakistani woman who replaced Christian Asia Bibi in her prison cell on death row, a mother of 4, Shaguftah Kausar, has – after a dozen delays since April 2020 due to COVID-19 – been acquitted from the death penalty by Lahore High court. Kausar, with her disabled husband Shafqat . . . Read More

EU Envoy’s threat of trade sanctions played crucial role in Asia Bibi’s freedom

EU Envoy on religious freedom, Jan Figel, meets with Asia Bibi's lawyer, Saif ul Malook in Lahore, December 2017. (Photo: Jan Figel)
Freed Pakistani Christian Aasiya Noreen, known to the world now as Asia Bibi, has pleaded for the many others like her accused of blasphemy who, she says, are still “lying in jail for years – their decisions should also be done on merit. The world should listen to them. “The . . . Read More

Ten years after fake blasphemy charge, Pakistani Asia Bibi reunited with family

Asia Bibi is finally free, almost one decade after she was first imprisoned. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Asia Bibi’s daughter Eicham was 9 when she saw her mum badly beaten and in front of a mob charged with “blasphemy” against the Prophet Muhammad. For over 9 years, Eicham has visited her on death row in Pakistan. Finally, today, now a young woman at 18, Eicham and her . . . Read More

Indonesia: Christian student faces jail sentence for blasphemy

Thousands of Muslim gathered in Indonesia's capital Jakarta on 26 October last year after a Muslim flag was burned. The incident also triggered a response from a Christian student and he is now facing a prison sentence for blasphemy. (Photo: Getty Images)
A Christian student in North-Sumatra, Indonesia, faces 18 months in prison for insulting Islam, reports the Catholic news site UCAN. The alleged blasphemy took place on 24 October last year, when Agung Kurnia Ritonga, 22, saw a picture showing three Muslims burning a flag containing Islamic symbolism and that belonged . . . Read More

Pakistani top court rejects review, setting Christian woman Asia Bibi free

Asia Bibi with Punjab Governor, Salmaan Taseer, who was assassinated for supporting her case. (Photo: Office of the Governor of Punjab)
After nine years in prison for blasphemy, the Pakistani Christian woman Asia Bibi is free to go after the Supreme Court today, 29 January, upheld her acquittal from the death penalty conviction for blasphemy. The panel considering a review of last year’s verdict by the Supreme Court – which had acquitted her based . . . Read More

Key trends show in 2019 List of countries where it’s most difficult to live as a Christian

WWL 2019 key trends, gender, China, woman (photo: VPA)
In its 2019 World Watch List, Open Doors International reports that 11 countries score highly enough to fit into the ‘extreme’ category for the level of persecution of Christians. It was the same last year, but five years ago, only North Korea was in that category. From roughly 2006, and accelerating from 2012, the NGO says the . . . Read More