Photo: Henrik Hansson/WCC

Photo: Henrik Hansson/WCC

World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit “received with joy” the news of the verdict which has resolved the long pending case of Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman convicted and sentenced to death under Pakistan's blasphemy laws in 2010.

“We celebrate her acquittal and release together with her, her family and community,” said Tveit. “The WCC has repeatedly called for justice for Asia Bibi, convicted 8 years ago on charges resulting from a village argument in which she was accused by her neighbours of blasphemy.”

Tveit further noted that, while this verdict finally corrects the error of her conviction, it cannot undo the injustice of her 8-year-long imprisonment on death row, often in solitary confinement, an ordeal which she has endured with faith and courage.

“Nor does it eliminate the many challenges posed by Pakistan's blasphemy laws to all of Pakistan's marginalized religious minorities,” he said. “WCC therefore appeals once again to the Government of Pakistan to review its blasphemy laws, to curb their abuse, and to eliminate discriminatory bias against religious minorities.”

Tveit concluded: “We call for equal citizenship and rights for all Pakistanis regardless of religious affiliation, which is their constitutional right. And we pray for peace and harmony to prevail between all Pakistan's communities.”

Concern over recent developments in Pakistan’s Asia Bibi case (WCC press release 28 October 2014)

Read full text of the statement from the WCC general secretary