EU criticises Pakistan court for upholding blasphemy convict's sentence

The EU on Saturday expressed deep concern over the decision of a Pakistani high court to uphold the death sentence of a Christian woman under controversial blasphemy law.

PTI| Updated: Oct 18, 2014, 20:43 PM IST

Islamabad: The EU on Saturday expressed deep concern over the decision of a Pakistani high court to uphold the death sentence of a Christian woman under controversial blasphemy law.

Asia Bibi was arrested in 2009 and sentenced to death a year later by a district court in Nankana Sahib district of Punjab province for profanity.

A two-member appeal bench of the Lahore High Court this week upheld the sentence, prompting the right bodies to criticise it.

"We are saddened and deeply concerned by the decision of the High Court of Lahore to uphold the conviction of Ms Asia Bibi, who was sentenced to death for Blasphemy by a lower court in 2010," the EU said in a statement issued by its mission in Islamabad.

"The EU considers the death penalty a cruel and inhumane punishment. We hope that the verdict will be appealed to the Supreme Court and struck down swiftly," it said.

Blasphemy laws were enacted by former military ruler Ziaul Haq in 1980s.

People charged under these laws are vulnerable to violence at the hands of extremists.

Last month a 70-year-old British national of Pakistan-origin convicted for blasphemy was attacked and injured by a police guard in a prison in Rawalpindi.