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ICC Note:

Zafar Bhatti, a Christian accused of committing blasphemy in 2012, has been sentenced to life imprisonment by a Pakistani Sessions Court on May 3. Bhatti is accused of sending blasphemous text messages from a mobile phone that was not even registered to his name. Bhatti denies the accusations against him. Critics widely agree that Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws are often abused for personal gain or to incite religious hatred. Is Bhatti just another Christian fallen victim to religious hatred in Pakistan?

05/05/2017 Pakistan (Pakistan Christian Post) – On May 3, Zafar Bhatti, a Christian falsely charged under Pakistan’s blasphemy law, was sentenced to life imprisonment by a Pakistani court.

Bhatti was charged under section 295-C of the blasphemy law as well as the section 25D of the telegraph act for sending blasphemous text messages from his mobile phone. According to reports, the mobile phone was not registered to his name. He denies the charges.

Since 2012, Bhatti has been imprisoned in Adiala Central Jail Rawalpindi. Considering the threats to his life, his case was conducted within Adiala Central Jail on April 24 but the judgment was reserved for a later date. On May 3, the session judge jailed him for life.

Usually courts hand down death sentences to those who are charged under 295-C, but because there was no concrete evidence against Bhatti, he was sentenced to life imprisonment instead.

CLAAS, who is providing free legal aid to Bhatti, has decided to appeal the session court’s decision to the Lahore high court.

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