Lawyer Aasia Bibi speaks at VU on 16 January 2019

Through the Shelter City project the Dutch NGO Justice & Peace offers human rights defenders the possibility for rest and respite by letting them escape from a temporarily threatening situation. During this seminar on 16 January 2019, lawyer and human rights defender Mr. Saif Ul Malook will share his experience and views on how to fight for human rights in a hostile environment.

Mr. Malook has been practicing law in both civil and criminal cases for over thirty years. Mr Malook is most well-known for his work as Counsel in the case of Aasia Bibi which concerned allegations of blasphemy. He is also representing four others accused of blasphemy and was the prosecutor in the Salman Taseer assassination case.

The case of Aasia Bibi secured worldwide media attention as being the first instance in history that a Pakistani woman was sentenced to death for blasphemy. For eight years, Mr Malook defended Ms Bibi while she was on death row until finally, in November 2018, he successfully quashed the ruling on appeal. Mr Malook faces serious threats in Pakistan. Those who condemned Aasia Bibi’s conviction or criticized Pakistani blasphemy legislation have been assassinated in the past. As a result, Mr Malook has been advised by local United Nations staff to leave the country. Consequently, he is receiving emergency relocation through the Shelter City programme in the Netherlands.

Mr. Malook will discuss what challenges he faces in his work and what possibilities and future perspectives he sees for human rights activists in his country.

Date: Wednesday 16 January 2019
Time: 13.30-15.30 hrs
Venue: VU University Amsterdam, Main Building, 2A-24

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For questions about this seminar, contact CICJ at cicj [at]