Bail granted: SC frees blasphemy accused after 5 years

Published: November 18, 2014
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Accused approaches the apex court against SHC’s refusal of a bail plea. PHOTO: AFP

Accused approaches the apex court against SHC’s refusal of a bail plea. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: A British national of Pakistani origin who spent five years in a Karachi prison over blasphemy charges has been granted bail by the apex court.

A two-member bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, granted bail to Muradur Rehman in an offence under section 295-C of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) last month.

“We have felt inclined to admit the petitioner (accused) to bail at such a stage of the case not only because the petitioner requires a specialist attention to his medical condition but also because the delay in conclusion of his trial has been found by us to be unconscionable, this petition is, therefore, converted into an appeal and the same is allowed”, the SC said in its four-page judgment — a copy of which is available with The Express Tribune.

The bench, however, directed the petitioner to deposit all his valid passports with the trial court so as to ensure that he keeps on appearing before the court as and when he is required to do so.

On May 22, the Sindh High Court refused to grant bail to Rehman in the blasphemy case, which was registered at Gizri police station in Karachi on July 18, 2009.

According to Additional Prosecutor General Sindh Saleem Akhtar, journalist Ansar Abbasi had registered case against the accused after receiving an allegedly blasphemous email.

Later, the accused approached the apex court over the SHC’s refusal of his bail plea. On October 17, Asma Jahangir appeared on behalf of the petitioner. The charge was framed against the accused on June 3, 2010, but no significant progress was seen in the trial.

The top court in its order also lamented that the petitioner has already spent more than five years in jail without his guilt being established.

The bench has also observed that the case record shows that on a number of occasions the petitioner has been medically assessed and evaluated for a possible psychological disorder. It also highlighted Professor Dr S Haroon Ahmed’s medical report regarding the petitioner prepared on May 11, 2011.

On the other hand, senior lawyer Tariq Mahmood said that it is unfortunate that due to out of court pressure trial courts are reluctant to conclude the trial in blasphemy cases.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 18th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (4)

  • Bewildered
    Nov 18, 2014 - 1:41PM

    “The top court in its order also lamented that the petitioner has already spent more than five years in jail without his guilt being established.”

    Very inhuman everything. The society, the laws, the courts, and the justice system. Say a few words which someone else thinks inappropriate and you lose your life? What an inhuman barbaric society (if we can call it a society).

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  • Nazlee
    Nov 18, 2014 - 4:42PM

    Shame on Ansari Abbasi for filing this blasphemy case! I thought it was only amongst the uneducated or the brainwashed segments of our society that this happened. As a journalist Abbasi knows full well the issues with this ‘blasphemy law’, from the lack of justification for it as per many fuqaha, to the conflict with the constitution in the selective application of it, to the black hole that is our judicial system. As long as we continue to have this law, how about there being a procedure that requires both blasphemer and witness to go into jail till the crime is established?

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  • QASIM
    Nov 18, 2014 - 8:50PM

    O ALLAH POUR UR WRATH ON THOSE WHO MAKE LIFE OF HUMAN BEINGS MISERABLE.AMEEN

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  • Pakistani Citizen
    Nov 24, 2014 - 1:09PM

    In case of Rimsha (poor child with down syndrome), the accuser was very cleverly saved by the extremely influential backers/supports. So dear sympathizers of this poor fellow, rest assured that nothing is going to happen to this darling Ansar Abbasi as he is also from the same group.

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