Christian Sentenced to Death for Blasphemy in Pakistan

People gather after Friday congregational prayers to protest for the release of Mumtaz Qadri, one of the elite police guard who killed Punjab governor Salman Taseer in 2011

People gather after Friday congregational prayers to protest for the release of Mumtaz Qadri, one of the elite police guard who killed Punjab governor Salman Taseer in 2011

Arrest of Sawan Masih after drunken row last year prompted Muslim mob to burn hundreds of homes in eastern city of Lahore

The Telegraph‘sRob Crilly reports: A Christian man has been sentenced to death for blasphemy in Pakistan, according to his lawyer, following an incident last year that prompted a Muslim mob to torch hundreds of homes.

It is the latest in a string of convictions prompting calls from religious minorities for the law to be reformed.

“The blasphemy laws in Pakistan are used to settle personal vendettas.”

— Xavier William, president of the Christian pressure group Life for All Pakistan

Naeem Shakir said his client, Sawan Masih, was convicted during a hearing held in jail for fear of violent protests.

Masih, a cleaner, was accused of insulting the Prophet Mohammed during a conversation with a Muslim friend in the eastern city of Lahore. Within hours, about 3000 protesters had set light to Christian homes and churches in an area known as Joseph Colony.

His supporters have always claimed the incident was fabricated as part of a plot to seize land.

“They hatched a conspiracy to push out the residents of the colony,” said Masih in a statement after sentence was passed. “They contrived a case and got it filed by a person who was close to me. I am innocent.”

At the time police said Masih had been drinking with his friend and the pair got into a heated row.

Although Pakistan has not carried out capital punishment for blasphemy, violent mobs and extremists have. At least one judge has been murdered for appearing to be too lenient in such cases.

Xavier William, president of the Christian pressure group Life for All Pakistan, said the episode marked a clear example of intolerance and misuse of the laws.

“In Pakistan even being accused of blasphemy is equivalent to being sentenced,” he said.

“The blasphemy laws in Pakistan are used to settle personal vendettas.”

The police arrested 83 suspects following the rampage through the Christian colony, including the man who brought the complaint against Masih, but so far none have been convicted.

Amnesty International called for Masih to be released and for those responsible for attacking Christian homes to be tried…read more…

Telegraph


One Comment on “Christian Sentenced to Death for Blasphemy in Pakistan”

  1. […] Pundit from another Planet Arrest of Sawan Masih after drunken row last year prompted Muslim mob to burn hundreds of homes in […]


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