All she wanted was a drink of water, but Asia Bibi was almost executed in Pakistan for allegedly blaspheming the name of Muhammad and using a cup reserved for Muslim women alone.
According to The Daily Mail:
A Christian woman has spoken of how she was given a death sentence in Pakistan because she drank water from a well with a cup used by Muslim women.
Mother-of-five Asia Bibi, 46, has spent the last four years languishing in a prison cell after being condemned to hang following a conviction for blasphemy.
She denied the charge of defiling the name of the prophet Mohammed during an argument with Muslim co-workers but was convicted following a trial.
With 97 percent of Pakistan Muslim, hostility toward Christians is rife and the government refuses to release her because of angry protests by extremists.
Two government officials who have spoken out on her behalf have been murdered — including Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti.”
Bibi was a fruit-picker, and on one particularly hot day in June 2009, she drank from a well and was subsequently chastised by her fellow co-workers for dirtying the well, claming God forbade her from drinking from the well because she was not Muslim. Five days later, women who claimed she insulted the prophet Muhammad approached her in a different field. She was then taken, beaten and sent to jail.
Bibi, in her autobiography, “Blasphemy: A Memoir”, outlines what happens next:
One of my arms really hurt and I thought it might be broken. Just then I saw the qari come in with Musarat and her gang. With me sitting there they told the police chief that I insulted the Prophet Mohammed. From outside the police station I could hear shouts:
“Death to the Christian!”
After writing up the report the policeman turned and called to me in a nasty voice:
“So what have you got to say for yourself?”
“I’m innocent! It’s not true! I didn’t insult the Prophet!”
Immediately after I’d protested my innocence I was manhandled into the police van and driven away. During the journey I passed out from pain and only came back to myself as we were arriving at Sheikhupura prison, where I was thrown into a cell.
Since that day I haven’t left prison.