PAKISTAN: CHRISTIAN SERVING LIFE FOR BLASPHEMY GETS DEATH SENTENCE
March 15, 2021:
A Pakistani court has given the death sentence to a Christian previously jailed for life after being convicted of sending text messages defaming Prophet Muhammad, UCA News reported on 12 March 2021. (Source: Uca News, 12/03/2021)
Lahore High Court on 10 March sent the appeal of hearing of Sajjad Masih Gill, a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, to the division bench after admitting the criminal revision.
In July 2013, a trial court sentenced Gill, from Gojra town in Punjab province, to life imprisonment for sending a controversial text message to a Muslim man in December 2011. The verdict included a fine of 314,500 rupees (US$2,000).
He had been arrested by police who traced his mobile phone number through a cellphone tower.
In 2015, his brother and nephew reported being attacked and threatened by unknown persons while returning home after visiting Gill in Central Jail Sahiwal, the largest prison in Asia spanning 283,280 square meters.
In 2016, two lawyers of the Legal Evangelical Association and Development reported similar threats by armed men on the road between Kasur and Lahore. Both had defended Gill and appealed to the Lahore High Court.
The news of Gill’s death sentence was praised by a Muslim lawyer in a Facebook post.
Zeeshan Ahmed Awan, who was among the prosecuting lawyers in court, said the court had accepted the prosecution's argument that capital punishment was the only possible sentence for blasphemy and that life imprisonment was “repugnant” to the injunctions of Islam.