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ICC Note:

“Pakistani judges are often pressured to convict people accused under the country’s blasphemy laws that call for the death penalty for anyone insulting Islam,” Fox News reports.

5/29/2012 Pakistan (Fox News) – Pakistani judges are often pressured to convict people accused under the country’s blasphemy laws that call for the death penalty for anyone insulting Islam, a special U.N. representative said Tuesday.

Gabriela Knaul, the U.N.’s Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, told a news conference that lawyers are also reluctant to defend clients accused under the blasphemy laws because of intimidation.

Pakistan’s blasphemy laws call for the death penalty for anyone insulting Islam, its holy book or the Prophet Muhammad. Pakistani Christians live in fear of being arrested under the laws, which critics say are often misused to settle personal scores or family feuds.

“I am especially concerned regarding cases brought under the so-called blasphemy law as it was reported to me that judges have been coerced to decide against the accused even without supporting evidence,” Knaul said.

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