Pakistan set to rule on woman facing death for blasphemy

ISLAMABAD (AP) — A defense lawyer says Pakistan’s top court is set to announce a final verdict on a Christian woman sentenced to death in 2010 on blasphemy charges.

Saiful Malook, a lawyer for Asia Bibi, says the Supreme Court will announce a verdict on Wednesday, and that he is “hopeful for Bibi’s acquittal.”

Bibi was arrested in 2009 after a quarrel with Muslim women. Islamists have demanded her execution, and a governor and a minister of minorities were assassinated in 2011 for supporting her.

Insulting Islam is punishable by death in Pakistan, and the mere rumor of blasphemy can ignite lynchings.

Her case is being closely watched internationally as a test of minority rights in Pakistan.

Bibi’s first appeal was dismissed, but the Supreme Court stayed her execution in 2015.

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