Appeal Set for Christian Accused of Blasphemy in Pakistan
06/12/2019 Pakistan (International Christian Concern) – A Christian accused of committing blasphemy against Islam in Pakistan has reportedly had his appeal hearing set by the Lahore High Court. The appeal comes only months after Asia Bibi, a Christian woman formally sentenced to death for allegedly committing blasphemy, was finally allowed to leave Pakistan and seek asylum in Canada.
In March 2013, Sawan Masih, a Christian street sweeper from Lahore, was accused of committing blasphemy against Islam. A Muslim friend of Masih, Shahid Imran, accused him of insulting the Prophet Mohammed during a conversation.
The day after that conversation, local mosques broadcast that Masih had committed blasphemy and instigated a mob attack on Masih’s home and Christian neighborhood named Joseph Colony. As a result, 180 Christian home were looted and burned, 75 shots were destroyed, and at least two churches were desecrated.
During the mob attack, Masih was handed over to police and formally charged with committing blasphemy. Since then, Masih has remained in prison and was sentenced to death in March 2014.
Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws are widely abused. Often, the laws are used to settle personal scores or incite religious hatred against minority communities. Unfortunately, Christians accused of blasphemy often have to suffer through years of legal battles to be acquitted of even clearly false accusations.
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