Condemned to death in 2009 for insulting Islam, the Pakistani Catholic is still awaiting her final verdict.
On June 14, 2009, Asia Bibi was thrown into jail. A year later she was sentenced to death for blasphemy, and since 2013, after two transfers, she has been languishing in one of the three windowless cells on death row in the southern province of Multan in the Punjab Penitentiary. A year after the Supreme Court of Pakistan postponed her appeal amid death threats by 150 muftis (Muslim legal experts) against anyone who would assist “blasphemers,” the case has not progressed by one iota. On August 30, Asia Bibi had spent 3,000 days in prison.
Her family lives underground. The only thing we know comes from her lawyer, the Muslim Saif ul Malook, who has visited her in recent months. He says she is doing well and is still hoping for her release. On the other hand, the Supreme Court seems to have forgotten the case, and has still not decided whether to confirm her death sentence or to release her.
During those 3,000 days Asia Bibi has never stopped praying and asking for prayers. As a tribute to this Christian who has become an icon for all those who struggle in Pakistan and the world against all violence in the name of religion, this is the prayer she composed last year on the occasion of the Easter celebrations, and which accompanies her in her detention:
Resurrected Lord, allow your daughter Asia to rise again with you. Break my chains, make my heart free and go beyond these bars, and accompany my soul so that it is close to those who are dear to me, and that it remains always near you. Do not abandon me in the day of trouble, do not deprive me of your presence. You who have suffered torture and the cross, alleviate my suffering. Hold me near you, Lord Jesus. On the day of your resurrection, Jesus, I want to pray for my enemies, for those who hurt me. I pray for them and I beg you to forgive them for the harm they have done me. I ask you, Lord, to remove all obstacles so that I may obtain the blessing of freedom. I ask you to protect me and protect my family.
After eight years of suffering, anguish and disappointed hopes, let us keep up our prayers and our actions of support for her, because through her we support all the persecuted Christians in their sacrifices.