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Christian youth sentenced to death for sharing ‘blasphemous’ content through WhatsApp in Pakistan

Jun 03, 2023 10:05 PM IST

Human rights activist Ilyas Samuel hoped the High Court would set aside the death sentence and drop all charges against Noman.

A local court in Pakistan's Bahawalpur sentenced a 22-year-old Christian man to death and imposed a fine of 20,000 for allegedly sharing blasphemous content through WhatsApp.

Also Read| Pakistani man lynched over ‘blasphemy’ after Imran Khan party rally

Noman Masih. (Morning Star via defense counsel)

Noman Masih was accused of carrying blasphemous images in his mobile phone, reported Pakistan's The Nation. The First Information Report (FIR) was registered against him under Section 295-C, which has a mandatory death sentence.

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Masih was arrested four years ago by police on a complaint that he had shared blasphemous material on a messaging app.

"The prosecutors presented the forensic record of Maih's cellphone which proved that he shared the blasphemous content through WhatsApp. Besides some witnesses were also presented in the court," said a court official, reported news agency PTI.

Pakistan's minority rights activist Joseph Jansen claimed that a fair investigation was not conducted in the case, which led to the judgement of capital punishment. While expressing concern over the development, Jansen said it was disturbing and painful that a young Christian man was sentenced to death.

“The complainants and witnesses involved in levelling false allegations against the accused often enjoy impunity,” he added.

False accusations of blasphemy against religious minorities are often made to settle personal vendettas, property disputes, religious prejudice, or business rivalries, as seen in various cases, including Mussarat Bibi’s case, he alleged.

Meanwhile, human rights activist Ilyas Samuel hoped the High Court would set aside the death sentence awarded by the additional sessions judge and drop all charges against Noman.

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