PAKISTAN. CHRISTIAN SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR BLASPHEMY
May 30, 2007: A Pakistani district court condemned to death Younis Masih, a Christian accused of blasphemy.Â The judges also condemned to man to pay a fine amounting to 100 thousand Rupees. Defence lawyers denounce a lack of evidence and accuse police of negligence for not having carried out a thorough investigation into the case.
Police had registered a blasphemy case against Masih on September 10, 2005: according to charges laid against him he allegedly made derogatory remarks about Prophet Muhammad and the Koran at during an argument with a group of Muslims, an offence punishable by hanging or life imprisonment according to state law. Â
Masihâ€™s lawyer explains that â€śthe sentence is based on nothing.Â Evidence based on the hearsay of Muslims only serves to have a man killedâ€ť. The lawyer went on to explain the dynamics of the case: â€śChristians had arranged a spiritual gathering at Chungi Ammarsidhu in September 9, 2005, at which a neighbour had objectedâ€ť.Â
Abdul Aziz, a plaintiff in the case began an argument with Masih â€śdemanding that they perform Islamic rituals instead of Christian rites. The argument turned hot during, and two days later the charges of blasphemy were laidâ€ť.
In any case, â€śwe are preparing to appeal the sentence.Â Now we must only hope that nothing happens to us, because we have already received various death threats, and then, we intend to bring this to Lahore High Court, to ask for justiceâ€ť. (Sources: AsiaNews, 31/05/07)