LAHORE - A Christian woman condemned to death four years ago for blasphemy is losing hope that she will be freed or pardoned, her husband, who lives in hiding because of his wife’s conviction, told AFP Friday.

Asia Bibi has been on death row since November 2010 after she was found guilty of blasphemy.

The Lahore High Court confirmed the death sentence two weeks ago, dashing hopes it might be commuted to a jail term.

Speaking to AFP after visiting Bibi for the first time since the Lahore court’s ruling, her husband Ashiq Masih said it had come as a crushing blow. “Asia was hopeful that her appeal would be admitted and she would be freed, but now she has lost hope,” Masih told AFP

“She was distraught, weeping for most of the time I had with her, appealing to the Supreme Court and the president to use their powers to give her justice.”

Pakistan has never executed anyone for blasphemy and has had a de-facto moratorium on civilian executions since 2008, but Bibi’s case highlights the country’s controversial laws on the subject.

Blasphemy is a hugely sensitive subject in the majority Muslim country, with even unproven allegations often prompting mob violence.

Masih, 50, lives in hiding with two of his five children and has to keep his identity secret as he scrapes together a living as a daily labourer.

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.

She was asked to fetch water, but the Muslim women objected, saying that as a non-Muslim she was unfit to touch the water bowl.

A few days later the women went to a local cleric and put forward the blasphemy allegations.

Amnesty International has raised “serious concerns” about the fairness of her trial and has called for her release.