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ICC Note: In Pakistan the crime of blasphemy, or speaking ill of the Prophet Muhammad, carries with it the death penalty or life imprisonment  The accusation is often used by the Muslim majority against members of the religious minority out of hatred or to get revenge when disagreements arise. It only takes the testimony of a single witness for a conviction and testimony is often fabricated. Even being accused of blasphemy can be extremely dangerous, as dozens of people accused of the crime since the law against it was past in the 1980’s have been killed by mobs before they could ever reach a trial.  
7/22/2013 Pakistan (MSN) – A Christian couple was arrested on Saturday (July 20) for allegedly sending blasphemous text messages to a Muslim cleric in Gojra, a religiously volatile city where a week before a young Christian man was sentenced to life in prison on the same charge.
Shafqat Masih, 43, and his 40-year-old wife Shagufta, who reportedly have four children between the ages of 5 and 11, were taken into custody on a complaint by Muslim cleric Rana Muhammad Ejaz, who alleged that he had received blasphemous text messages from Masih from a number registered in the name of Shagufta.
Gojra City police registered a case under Section 295-C of Pakistan’s widely condemned blasphemy laws for allegedly defaming Islam’s prophet, Muhammad. Conviction is punishable by death or life in prison, which is 25 years in Pakistan.
Saying police coerced him into recording a false admission of guilt, Masih has denied sending the text messages, according to an official at a Christian rights organization who requested anonymity.
“Shafqat says the couple has been framed in a false case,” the source said. “He says that the police had forced him to record his confession before the magistrate.”
The official said two lawyers representing his organization had met with Shafqat.
“The case is quite complex,” he said.
The accusation is the third known incident in Pakistan of Christians charged for allegedly sending blasphemous content via cell phones. The first was registered in Karachi against Qamar David, who was allegedly killed in Karachi Central Prison in 2011 (official cause of death was heart attack). In the second case, 29-year-old Sajjad Masih was sentenced to life imprisonment and fined 200,000 rupees (US$1,980) in Gojra on July 13.

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