Pakistan refuses Christmas visits to jailed Christians; “blasphemy” defendants attacked in jail, one in hospital
Rumors have circulated for some time about the mistreatment of Asia Bibi in jail, and this story reports that she is recovering from a beating at the hands of a Muslim prison guard in October. Irfan Masih, another defendant for “blasphemy,” is in the hospital after being stabbed.
Barack Obama should know these names. Hillary Clinton should know them. Their plights, that of Hector Aleem, and others, are as emblematic of all that is wrong with Pakistan as bin Laden’s location under the nose of the Pakistani military. “Pakistan Refusing Christmas Day Visits To Jailed Christians,” by Stefan J. Bos for BosNewsLife, December 25 (thanks to The Religion of Peace):
LAHORE, PAKISTAN (BosNewsLife)– A Christian mother of five sentenced to death on charges of “blasphemy” against Islam and over a dozen other Christians held in Pakistani jails spent Christmas Day without their families, after authorities refused requests to allow prison visits, well-informed Christians said.
Asia Bibi, 46, “is spending a third Christmas separated from her family as she awaits an appeal” against plans to execute her by hanging for “blasphemy”, Barnabas Fund, an advocacy group assisting her family, told BosNewsLife.
She is held in the high security District Jail Seikhupura, some 35 kilometers (22 miles) northwest of Lahore, the capital of Punjab province.
Bibi, a farm worker, was detained in June 2009 on charges of defiling the name of Islam’s Prophet Mohammad during an argument with Muslim co-workers. She has denied wrongdoing.
“She is being kept in isolation for her own safety, and is able to see her children only twice a year because of the security risk to them.”
Bibi herself has been recovering in her Pakistani jail after she was allegedly attacked and beaten unconscious by a Muslim prison officer in October, said the Pakistan Christian Congress (PCC) party earlier. Authorities pledged an investigation.
That helps to explain her fragile condition as described in this interview.
Later, a fellow believer held on blasphemy charges, Irfan Masih, was among others being attacked by Islamists on Tuesday, December 20, in a Kasur City jail, Christians said. He was reportedly seriously injured in the knife attack and was believed to be in a Lahore hospital on Christmas Day.
Despite security risks, Bibi’s family “had an emotional reunion on December 13, carefully organized by a Christian couple who run the school that Asia”s daughters attend,” Barnabas Fund explained.
“When the incarcerated mother saw her children, she naturally wanted to hug and kiss them but was not initially allowed any contact. The school director pleaded with the jail authorities and obtained permission for the family to meet in a separate room.”…