Asia Bibi’s tale has been a long and tragic one. The Pakistani woman has been detained for nearly three years after being charged with blasphemy for allegedly disparaging the name of the Prophet Mohammed. The penalty for talking negatively about Islam’s leader? Death.
The Blaze originally shared Bibi’s story in November 2010. Since, there have been a number of updates, but none of them have led to the Christian mother of five’s release. Her high-profile case has even led Pope Benedict XVI to appeal for mercy. She is the first woman to be given the death penalty under Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy laws.
Bibi, 42, was originally scheduled to be put to death by hanging on Nov. 8 2010, but the intense debate surrounding her detention has helped keep her alive. Rather than admitting fault, Bibi claims that it was her co-workers — whom she has forgiven — who wrongly made claims against her.
Years after the women turned her over to authorities, Bibi still sits in a jail cell waiting for hope to arrive. On Tuesday, she received support from activists who came together to present a petition to the United Nations Human Rights Council. The document, which was signed by 50 activists and survivors from world tragedies, called for her release.
In a new book called “Get Me Out of Here,” Bibi will be sharing her plight with readers. The text, which was written during her ongoing detainment, details her story and talks of the faith she encouraged her children to continue having in Jesus Christ despite her dire situation.
“Bibi is still awaiting a ruling on the appeal of her death sentence and has been moved to an isolated cell without any windows, sink or toilet because of Muslim threats against her life,” reads a press release announcing the book.
Watch Anne-Isabelle Tollet, a journalist for France 24 (who also helped Bibi write her book) speak about the woman’s ongoing struggles. Tollet explains how Muslims discriminated against Bibi, accused the Christian of “defiling” their water after she took a drink from a local supply, tried to get her to convert to Islam and then inevitably turned her in:
“With Pakistan now running for a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council, the government should make an important gesture by releasing Asia Bibi, and repealing its blasphemy law, which is inconsistent with basic human rights,” echoed Hillel Neuer, the head of U.N. Watch, a human rights group based in Geneva, Switzerland.
Bibi’s ongoing battle has caused many to question whether Pakistan should re-think its blasphemy laws, which rights groups say unfairly target minorities. While the Pakistani government ministry has found the charges against Bibi to stem more from religious and personal reasoning and has recommended her release, the government has yet to act. Her tragic case continues to unfold, but support does seem to be mounting.