Monday, April 7, 2014

Asia Bibi’s death-sentence appeal has again been delayed, this time because a prosecutor failed to appear for the March 26 hearing. A new appeal hearing has been scheduled for April 14. This is the third court hearing that has been delayed because of an absence. Hearings scheduled for Feb. 14 and March 17 were postponed because one of two presiding judges was absent each day.

Pakistani law requires that two judges be present for all court proceedings in death penalty cases. Asia Bibi was arrested in June 2009 as a result of an argument with Muslim co-workers in which she defended her Christian faith. She was subsequently convicted of blasphemy and sentenced to death. Her lawyers filed an immediate appeal, but a variety of political and religious pressures have prevented the courts from hearing her case. Sign the petition to release Asia Bibi

Iranian authorities recently confiscated a Bible and several Christian books from Pastor Behnam Irani, who is serving a five-year sentence on two separate convictions of “crimes against national security.” Prisoners are supposed to be allowed religious materials in their cell, regardless of their religion. The pastor is currently recovering from a February 2014 abdominal surgery. Write an encouraging letter to Pastor Behnam Irani here.