Esha's legal expenses
£5,166 of £10k goal
She has no family to take an interest in her except for a dedicated young man, "Mo", whom she met on a visit to court and who, on hearing her story and seeing her isolation, has been trying to support her. Blasphemy is a serious offence in a deeply religious country like Pakistan and punishable by death. Blasphemy laws have been used to persecute minorities like the Christians or to settle personal scores. Several prominent people have been killed for supporting those accused of blasphemy. Only recently a Christian couple were burnt alive for allegedly desecrating the Qur'an. See links below.
"Mo" has gone into hiding after he received death threats. He is unable to work now and therefore, unable to raise the kind of fees that are charged by lawyers. For this kind of case, the fees are extremely high because of the danger posed to anyone associated with it. This is why we cannot use their real names.
She is being sexually harassed by the superintendent of the prison. As she has rejected his advances, he has withdrawn all basic privileges such as medicines, visitors, even a mattress to sleep on. She is locked up 24/7 in a cell that is not heated in the winter and not cooled in the summer when temperatures can reach a baking 45c! She has attempted suicide twice and her poor mental health is a cause of real worry. She has stomach ulcers, skin allergies and kidney problems as well.
"Esha" and "Mo" are completely trapped. 'Esha' says 'I have lost all faith in society. I have been cut off from life, from the world, from education. I have lost the will to live.'
Although it is vital to Esha's mental health that she leaves prison, if her bail hearing is successful, neither of them have any money even for rent or food. Mo's own family feel he's wasting his life and are threatening to cut him off. He says, 'I was 27 when I met Esha. I have spent all my life savings on her. My life is in danger from extremists and I have lost family, friends and peace of mind. Why am I doing this?'
This money will go towards Esha's legal fees and associated expenses for a lawyer who is highly recommended. "Mo" is desperate to get the legal case on the road before "Esha's" next attempt on her life.
Please donate as generously as you can.
Press coverage on Esha and Mo:
Press coverage on blasphemy in Pakistan:
Ammar, Just to add to what Maryam has said. Esha is from Lahore, her bail application is being handled by Asma Jehangir, she was arrested in March 2012. I have seen all the correspondence between Mo and her legal reps as well as with other human rights organisations. The lawyer representing her in her trial doesn't advise publicity so I cannot release his name. I am a longstanding member of Southall Black Sisters and we support black women based in the UK and occasionally women on the sub-continent. Of course, if you think I am lying the only way I can prove it is by sending you copies of the FIR etc but that would give away her real identity. As I don't know who you are, I cannot take that risk. But when you make unsubstantiated allegations that this is a scam, you are hurting the prospects of a desperate young woman locked away in prison.
Hello Ammar, Rahila Gupta is a veteran women's rights campaigner and journalist. She has written about the girl's case here: https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/rahila-gupta/apostasy-and-asylum-escaping-clutches-of-religion. Also please note that Asma Jahangir and other Pakistani human rights groups are involved. Rahila has given the girl a pseudonym based on advice from people there that her real name and details will further endanger "Esha" but that something had to be made public in order to raise money for her legal fees. Of course you are free not to support the campaign but I would suggest that it is best not to label a lifeline to someone a need a "scam" so readily. I and Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain can vouch for Rahila and the work she does. We also have a responsibility to help "Esha".
Hi Nikki Magennis, sorry for the delay in getting back to you but I was waiting for the company to respond. I found their answer on the help page: GoFundMe campaigns created in the US only accept credit card and debit card payments. Due to a high-number of complaints, PayPal is no longer supported in the US.
Hi there, is it possible to donate by paypal? Many thanks.
Could you please share the detail of this case? as in any of the specifics? which city is Esha from? when was she arrested? does she have legal representation? As an activist I follow the cases of blasphemy in Pakistan and without any specific details this seems like a scam to me