Blasphemy convict tortured in Pak jail

Last Updated: Wednesday, October 12, 2011 - 14:23

Islamabad: A Pakistani Christian woman
sentenced to death on charges of blasphemy was allegedly
tortured by a staffer of the jail in Punjab province where she
is being held, according to a media report Wednesday.

Aasia Bibi is currently being held in a special cell in
Sheikhupura Jail due to "severe security threats".

The warden of the jail, Khadeeja, tortured Aasia Bibi
after alleging that certain prohibited items were found in her
cell, The Express Tribune quoted its sources as saying.

Other staff members, who were present during the
incident, acted as silent spectators, the report said.

Despite having knowledge of the incident, Sheikhupura
Jail`s Deputy Superintendent Ghafoor Anjum has not taken any
action against Khadeeja.

Superintendent Sheikh Khalid Pervaiz later suspended
Khadeeja and an inquiry into the incident has been launched.

An intelligence agency has sent a report regarding the
incident to its provincial headquarters after recording Aasia
Bibi`s statement.
In its report, the intelligence agency said the incident
occurred due to the jail administration`s negligence and
expressed its fears that the matter might get out of hand.

Aasia Bibi, a resident of a village near Nankana Sahib,
was sentenced to death by a sessions court last year after she
was charged with blasphemy following an altercation between
her and some other women.

The women had refused to drink water brought by Aasia
Bibi, reportedly because she is a Christian.

Her lawyer filed an appeal seeking a pardon from
President Asif Ali Zardari, who asked for a review of the
case.

On November 29, 2010, then Lahore High Court Chief
Justice Khawaja Sharif issued an order that the president
could not issue a pardon for Aasia Bibi.

The case received worldwide attention, with Pope Benedict
and leaders from around the world urging that the mother of
five be freed.

Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer, who championed Aasia
Bibi`s case, was gunned down in January by a police guard who
was angered by his criticism of the blasphemy law.

Aasia Bibi`s husband Ashiq Masih and their children went
into hiding in an undisclosed Christian enclave sometime last
year.

Masih is convinced that his family has been targeted for
death by radical Islamic groups.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, October 12, 2011 - 14:23

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