Issue 353: Petition: Free Pakistani Christian woman set for execution

CNN is reporting on UN Watch’s new campaign to release a Pakistani Christian woman facing execution for blasphemy. At its human rights summit today, UN Watch hosted an appeal for the life of Asia Bibi by France 24reporter Anne-Isabelle Tollet, who has written a book on the condemned woman. In addition, UN Watch arranged for Ms. Tollet to testify today before the plenary of the UN Human Rights Council, and helped organize and disseminate an international petition.

Compelling victim testimonies from today’s UN Watch summit — including from eyewitnesses to the Syrian slaughter — have also been reported in The Washington Post, Agence Télégraphique Suisse, Schweizerische Depeschenagentur,Television Suisse Romande, and other media outlets worldwide.

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Petition: Free Pakistani Christian woman set for execution

March 13, 2012

(CNN) Activists presented a petition Tuesday to the United Nations Human Rights Council calling on Pakistan to free a Christian mother of five from being put to death on the charge of blasphemy. 

A Pakistani court Asia Bibi guilty of defiling the name of the Prophet Mohammed during a 2009 argument with Muslim fellow field workers. The offense is punishable by death or life imprisonment, according to Pakistan’s penal code, and Bibi was sentenced to hang.

But an investigation by a Pakistani government ministry found the charges stemmed from religious and personal enmity and recommended Bibi’s release.

The petition was signed by 50 activists including a former Czech foreign minister, the president of the U.N. General Assembly, a survivor of Tiananmen Square and a women’s rights advocate from Mali.

“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,” said Hillel Neuer, director of U.N. Watch, a Geneva-based human rights group that organized the petition.

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