Archbishop Freier calls for freeing of Asia Bibi

Archbishop Freier has written to the Foreign Minister about the case of imprisoned Pakistani Christian Asia Bibi.

Despite enormous support for her cause from outside of Pakistan, Asia Bibi has been languishing on death row in a Pakistani prison for nearly seven years.

May 13 2016Archbishop Philip Freier has written to Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and to the High Commissioner for Pakistan to Australia, Naela Chohan, about the case of Pakistani Christian woman Aasiya Noreen (better known as Asia Bibi), who was sentenced to death for blasphemy in 2010, and is still languishing on death row in a Pakistani prison.

Asia Bibi was convicted of insulting the prophet Muhammad during a row over drinking water with Muslim women with whom she was working in a field.

Archbishop Freier wrote on his blog on 13 May: “It is clear that a disgraceful application of Pakistan’s blasphemy law, 295c, has brought tragedy and shame upon [Asia Bibi] and indeed the beautiful nation of Pakistan.”

He has asked Australia’s Foreign Minister to pursue justice and mercy for Asia Bibi and for the protection of the Christian minority in Pakistan. In his letter to the High Commissioner for Pakistan to Australia, he has asked that Pakistan re-open Asia Bibi’s case and acquit her, and also work to protect Christians in Pakistan, who go constantly in fear of their lives and property.

“I wrote to Ms Chohan that Pakistan and Australia share interests and values, including the priority of justice with mercy,” said Archbishop Freier. “The treatment of Asia Bibi fails this fundamental test of our shared humanity, and her continued imprisonment brings shame.”

The Anglican Consultative Council at its meeting in Lusaka, Zambia, last month resolved that the Anglican Church stands in solidarity and prayer with Asia Bibi and with other victims of the blasphemy law.

Read more on Archbishop Freier’s blog here.