Friday, February 13, 2009

Update on Sandal

For months now, we’ve been following the case of a young woman named Ashiyana (alias “Sandal”) who is imprisoned for her faith in Pakistan. She and her father were arrested on October 9 after a mob from the local mosque surrounded their house. As the loudspeakers from the mosque called out accusations, the angry crowd hurled stones and bottles of kerosene at the family’s house, intending to set it on fire.

Police came and put Sandal and her father in protective custody. Then they charged her with violating Pakistan’sblasphemy law, 295B. The charge of desecrating the Quran calls for life imprisonment. It is likely that Sandal will spend at least four years in prison.

According to a recent news report, two prominent Christian activists were recently able to visit with this sister in jail. It’s hard to read Sandal’s words, as they reveal the deplorable conditions she must endure. But I think a better understanding of the reality she’s facing helps guide people as to how to best uphold her in prayer. So, here’s a bit of the report:

[Ashiyana aka "Sandal"] told the two men that the attitude of the staff members of the Faisalabad district jail towards her was harsh.

"I remained without basic needs,” Ashiyana told the visiting human rights activists. “I was condemned to solitary confinement in a dark cell. The lady superintendent of the Faisalabad district jail was very harsh to me. She heaped insults on me and did not provide me with basic needs.”

Pointing to the alleged apathy and indifference of the jail authorities towards her, the blasphemy-accused went on to tell them: “The jail staff were so merciless that they would not even provide water to me for taking bath.”

She disclosed to her visitors that she fell sick after inhaling dust due to ongoing renovation of the jail. The dust and sand, she told her visitors, gave her a breathing-related problem.

Ashiyana told Mr. Joseph Francis and Mr. Sohail Johnson that she was denied medicine by the jail authorities when she asked for it after becoming ill.

“They instead harassed me,” she told the visiting Christian activists.

Ashiyana was shifted to Jhang district jail a few days ago where she says she is meted out a relatively better treatment.

“I am thankful to God that I am being treated relatively better here than Faisalabad Jail. I am still without warm clothes and blanket though in this winter season. I am in desperate need of medicine to rid myself from difficulty in breathing. I also need edibles,” Ashiyana confided in her visitors.

Along with upholding Sandal, please pray also for her imprisoned father, Gulsher, who is accused of abetting her alleged act of desecration. The next court hearing in the case is scheduled to take place over the long weekend—February 16. So pray for these planned proceedings as well.

1 comment:

TERRY said...