Man appeals blasphemy death sentence

Masih's lawyer says circumstances in which incident took place cast "serious doubts" over the prosecution's case.

Afp April 01, 2014
The remains of a house burnt to the ground by a mob in Lahore, March 2013. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

LAHORE: Sentenced to death for blasphemy, Sawan Masih appealed against his conviction on Tuesday, saying the charges were trumped up to speed up the eviction of Christians from the area.

Masih was convicted last week of blasphemy, which occurred during a conversation with a Muslim friend in the Joseph Colony neighbourhood of Lahore in March last year.

"We have filed an appeal in the Lahore High Court against the death sentence awarded to Sawan Masih and called for his acquittal and release from jail," his lawyer Naeem Shakir told AFP.

More than 3,000 rioters rampaged through Joseph Colony, torching some 100 Christian homes in Lahore, after the allegations against Masih emerged.

Police had initially said they would investigate whether or not Muslim businessmen in the area may have instigated the violence with the aim of seizing Christians' land, or to exploit the blasphemy allegations for political gain.

Shakir said the circumstances in which the incident took place cast "serious doubts" over the prosecution's case.

He added his client had told the court the blasphemy charges "were fabricated by the elements who wanted to occupy the property of Joseph Colony."

There is a de facto moratorium on civilian hangings since 2008. Only one person has been executed since then, a soldier convicted by court martial.


Sexton Blake | 7 years ago | Reply @American Muse: Dear American Miuse, You made my point exactly when you used the word "anachronistic", but to discuss the topic fully would expand word usage exponentially. Executing, killing or punishing people for failing to adhere to anachronistic customs is occurring routinely in many countries, particularly America, both domestically and externally. It is wrong, it is cruel, but certainly part of this strange world we live in. I do not expect any improvement in Pakistan or elsewhere any time soon.
Avinash | 7 years ago | Reply

Pakistani Minorities are facing critical conditions whereas in Sindh, Hindus has being Targeted and some fanatic person has involve sanctity of temple even diminishing the temple, kidnapping, killing its the scenario of Sindh. Furthermore, in Panjab christens are being targeted in blasphemy cases. Moreover in Gilgit-Bultistan, Shia are on the front line some people killing them one by one . whats matter with minorities, where is Human Right Commission??

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