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Pakistani Christian Serving Life For Blasphemy Dies In Prison

Washington, D.C. (March 15, 2011)–International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that a Christian serving a life sentence for “blasphemy” died while in prison in Karachi, Pakistan. The police claimed that he died of heart attack but many Christians accused of blasphemy have been killed by fundamentalist Muslims in Pakistan.  

On February 25, 2010, Qamar David was sentenced to life imprisonment and fined 101,000 Pakistani Rupees (approximately $1,187) for allegedly making blasphemous statements about the Qur’an and the Islamic Prophet Muhammad.

In the past, Christians accused of blasphemy have been killed inside prison or while still in court. On September 20, 2009, Falish Masih was found dead inside his prison cell after he was accused of blasphemy. He had severe wounds on his face, arms and the rest of his body, but the police in Pakistan claimed that Falish committed suicide. On July 19, 2010, Muslim extremists shot and killed Rashid Emmanuel and Sajjid Emmanuel, two brothers accused of blasphemy, at a court house in Faisalabad.

ICC had asked Pakistani officials to release David Qamar in its petition in March 2010. But, the Pakistani officials ignored the call for his release.

We are deeply saddened to hear about the death of David.  We are still working on finding the cause of his death.  As we have repeatedly said in the past, Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are being used by Muslims to persecute Christians.  The law has to be abolished and all Christians imprisoned for allegedly blaspheming must be released,” said Jonathan Racho, ICC’s Regional Manager for South Asia.