The Lahore High Court has upheld the death penalty against a Christian woman who was convicted of blasphemy in Pakistan four years ago, as her lawyers vowed to appeal.
Asia Bibi has been on death row since November 2010 after she was found guilty of making derogatory remarks about Islam during an argument with neighbours.
Ms Bibi consistently denied the allegations against her, saying they stemmed from an argument with a group of women over a pot of water.
Ms Bibi’s lawyer, Naeem Shakir, said: “I was expecting the opposite decision. We will file an appeal to the Supreme Court of Pakistan in a few days.” Gulam Mustafa, the complainant’s lawyer, said the court’s decision was correct.
“Asia’s lawyer tried to prove that the case was registered on a personal enmity but he failed to prove that,” he said.
Two witnesses allegedly involved in the incident did not appear in court, he said. A prayer leader did appear, saying he did not witness the original altercation, but that Ms Bibi had confessed.
Ms Bibi’s sentence in 2010 sparked condemnation.
Two prominent politicians – Punjab governor Salman Taseer and minorities minister Shahbaz Bhatti – were murdered in 2011 after calling for reforms to the blasphemy law and describing Ms Bibi’s trial as flawed.