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Another Christian Condemned To Death for Blasphemy, Without Any Proof

ICC Note: Pakistani court condemns Christian to death and requires him to pay a fine of 100,000 Rupees ($1,600) for flimsy charges of blasphemy.

5/31/07 Pakistan (AsiaNews) – A Pakistani district court yesterday condemned to death Younis Masih, a Christian accused of blasphemy. The judges also condemned the 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.

Masih’s lawyer explains that “the sentence is based on nothing. Evidence based on the hearsay of Muslims only serves to have a man killed”. The lawyer went on to explain the dynamics of the case: “Christians had arranged a spiritual gathering at Chungi Ammarsidhu in September 9, 2005, at which a neighbour had objected”. Abdul Aziz, a plaintiff in the case began an argument with Masih “demanding that they perform Islamic rituals instead of Christian rites. The argument turned hot during, and two days later the charges of blasphemy were laid”.

In any case, “we are preparing to appeal the sentence. 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 justice”.

Yesterday’s was the first ever trial to be video-televised, which had been arranged at the jail due to security issues.