Aid to the Church in Need rejoices at freedom for Asia Bibi
Philipp Ozores, ACN Secretary General, rejoices at the recent acquittal of Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian who was accused of blasphemy and had been on death row.
article below thanks to https://acninternational.org
Saif Ul-Malook: „My life is destroyed, but I do not regret having defended Asia Bibi”.
Asia Bibi’s lawyer Saif Ul-Malook spoke to a delegation of ACN in Lahore, Pakistan. “Even though my life might have been destroyed due to Asia Bibi’s case, I do not regret having defended her. I never regretted. I would do it again. I am open for new cases such as this one in the future. If any Christian accused of blasphemy asked me to be his or her lawyer, I would do it without any hesitation”.
After Asia Bibi’s acquittal on 31st October, Saif Ul-Malook had to flee the country. He came back to Pakistan a few weeks ago for the final hearing on her case. A Muslim prayer leader had filed a petition to seek review of the verdict. The judges of the Supreme Court of Pakistan upheld her acquittal. When the lawyer came back to Pakistan, he was once more insulted and threatened. “My peers accuse me of being a bad Muslim. They are convinced I should not have defended a Christian woman who was accused of blasphemy. Besides, I received death threats. Because of that some of my colleagues and friends do not ride on the same car as me. They fear I will end up being killed and they want to avoid the same fate.”
The lawyer recalled how much his client has suffered. After being imprisoned for eight years wrongfully accused on death row in a blasphemy case, she is still waiting to live freely with her family. “Asia Bibi has remarkable endurance. I do not know how she managed. She lived for eight years in an eight square meters room. She was only allowed to get out twice a day for half an hour. She had limited time for visitors once a month. Whenever I met her, I tried my best to comfort her and to motivate her. For me, it would be impossible to live in those conditions.”
Now that Asia Bibi’s case is over and she is free, Saif Ul-Malook said he is ready to help others in need of legal assistance. “I am willing to give my legal advice and to be at service of anyone who needs me regardless of their belief. If another Christian needs my help, I will be at her or his disposal”. At the end of the conversation with ACN delegation, the lawyer shares one of his wishes. “I would love to meet Pope Francis. Even though I am a Muslim, I admire him as the Spiritual leader of three-quarters of humankind, and I wish to pay my respect to him.”