European Parliament President calls for fair trial for Christian mother facing execution

Asia Bibi – also known as Aasiya Noreen – is appealing her death sentence for blasphemy.World Watch Monitor

The President of the European Parliament has warned Pakistan that it is making a 'big mistake' in its treatment of Asia Bibi, a mother-of-five facing execution for blasphemy.

President Antonio Tajani raised the case against Bibi during this week's plenary session at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, during which he called for a fair trial and urged Pakistan to end religious prejudice.

'I ask that she is guaranteed a fair trial and to stop this discrimination and religious prejudice,' he said.

He made further comments in answers to journalists, in which he spoke of his desire to see Bibi freed.

'We need to save Asia Bibi. She is in prison only because she is Christian,' said Tajani, according to Evangelical Focus

'This is a big mistake, it is against human rights. We want to defend human rights everywhere. For this, we need to save Asia Bibi.'

Bibi was sentenced to death for blasphemy in 2010 after co-workers on a farm took offence over a shared cup of water and accused her of insulting Islam.

Pakistan's recently elected Prime Minister Imran Khan has defended the country's blasphemy laws in the face of criticism over the treatment of Bibi.

'I know this law is an inconvenience for some people like that poor woman Asia Bibi. But it is a law that is complete and I support it,' he said, according to The Express

The Supreme Court reached a verdict on Bibi's appeal against the death penalty this month but has postponed the announcement. Extremists have since threatened to kill the judges if they free Bibi and have called on Muslims across Pakistan to paralyse the country with sit-in protests.

Her family is asking for prayers as they await the verdict but there are fears that even if she is freed, she will not be safe in Pakistan.

The chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, Wilson Chowdhry, said the UK and other Western countries must offer asylum if Bibi wins her appeal.

'The longer she is in Pakistan, the longer she is a trigger for unwarranted violence by extremists,' he said.

Open Doors has previously said that if the court upholds the death sentence, Bibi's only option will be to appeal for a pardon from President Arif Alvi.