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Pope Declares Death Penalty Inadmissible in All Cases

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ROME — Pope Francis has declared the death penalty inadmissible in all cases because it is “an attack” on the “dignity of the person,” the Vatican announced on Thursday, in a definitive shift in Roman Catholic teaching that could put enormous pressure on lawmakers and politicians around the world.
Francis, who has spoken out against capital punishment before — including in 2015 in an address to Congress — added the change to the Catechism, the collection of beliefs for the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.
The revision says the church would work “with determination” for the abolition of capital punishment worldwide.
“I think this will be a big deal for the future of the death penalty in the world,” said John Thavis, a Vatican expert and author. “People who work with prisoners on death row will be thrilled, and I think this will become a banner social justice issue for the church,” he added.
Sergio D’Elia, the secretary of Hands Off Cain, an association that works to abolish capital puni…

Pakistan's top judge to hear Asia Bibi's death sentence appeal

Asia Bibi
Catholic mother's lawyer has high hopes her conviction will be struck down by Supreme Court

Pakistan's top judge has announced he will take up the appeal of a Catholic mother of five children who has been on death row since 2010 for blasphemy.

Chief Justice Saqib Nisar told lawyer Saif ul Malook — the chief counsel for Asia Bibi — to prepare for her appeal.

"Be ready, Saif ul Malook. I am going to fix your case soon and I myself will preside over the bench," Nisar told Malook on April 21.

The judge made his comments as the lawyer appeared before the Supreme Court seeking police protection for taking on Bibi's case after it had been withdrawn by the Punjab police. Nisar ordered the Punjab police to again provide Malook with protection.

Malook said that he had high hopes of Bibi's conviction being struck down by the Supreme Court.

"Bibi's family and everyone else who understands her ordeal, are ecstatic at the news that her appeal will be heard soon," Malook said.  

Bibi was arrested in 2009 for allegedly insulting the Prophet Muhammad during an argument with Muslim women at an orchard in a small town in Punjab province.

Bibi has maintained her innocence and said she was punished for daring to drink water meant for Muslims only. Many Muslims in the Islamist country regard Christians as impure due to a deep-rooted culture of religious discrimination.

In November 2010, a trial court convicted Asia Bibi for blasphemy and sentenced her to death. Four years later, the Lahore High Court upheld her death sentence.

The Supreme Court admitted her appeal in July 2015 and the first appeal took place on Oct. 13, 2016, but the top court adjourned the hearing after one of the three judges on the bench, Justice Iqbal Hameed-ur-Rehman, recused himself, claiming a conflict of interest.

Since then the Supreme Court has been unable to set up a new bench to hear Bibi's appeal. This appears to have now changed with Nisar's court declaration.

Source: ucanews.com, Zaig Hussain, April 23, 2018


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