03/24/2021 Pakistan (International Christian Concern) – Sajjad Masih, a member of the Seventh-Day-Adventist Church in the Punjab Province in Pakistan, sent a controversial text message in 2011. The trial court fined Masih $2,000 and sentenced him to life in prison in July 2013, despite a feeble prosecution case.
Masih’s appeal to overturn that sentence sat with the Lahore High Court for seven years. According to Morning Star News (MSN), a large number of Khatam-e-Nabuwwat Forum (KNF) lawyers sat in on both of Masih’s appeals, an intimidation tactic for judges to deliver harsh punishments and convict defendants quickly.
Now 36 years old, Masih faces a death sentence. “They told the judge that capital punishment was the only sentence for blaspheming against Islam’s prophet and that Sajjad must be executed without delay,” one source said to MSN reporters.
On March 10, 2021, the Lahore High Court charged Masih under Section 295-C of the Pakistan Criminal Code, which states, “Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to a fine.”
According to the Open Doors 2021 World Watch List, Pakistan ranks fifth among countries where it is the most difficult to be a Christian.
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