Esham Masih, daughter of Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian mother sentenced to death in under blasphemy laws, attends class at a school in Lahore on October 31, 2014. AFP PHOTO/ Arif ALI
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A life and death countdown has begun in Pakistan, where the Supreme Court is due to hear a final appeal against the execution of a Christian woman for blasphemy.This will be the final appeal for mother-of-five Asia Bibi, some six years after she was sentenced to death -- accused of insulting the Prophet Mohammed during an argument with a Muslim woman over a bowl of water.The allegations against Bibi date back to June 2009, when she was labouring in a field and a row broke out with some Muslim women she was working with.The women went to a local cleric and accused Bibi of blasphemy against the Prophet Mohammed, a charge punishable by death under legislation that rights groups say is routinely abused to settle personal vendettas.Successive appeals have been rejected, and if on Thursday the three-judge Supreme Court bench upholds Bibi's conviction, her only recourse will be a direct appeal to the president for clemency.In 2010, Pope Francis's predecessor Benedict XVI also called for Bibi's release.
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