BLASPHEMOUS TEXTS?: Christian man sentenced to death for sending ‘blasphemous texts’ [#PakistanPersecution #ChristianPersecution] 09/08

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BLASPHEMOUS TEXTS?: Christian man sentenced to death for sending ‘blasphemous texts’ [#PakistanPersecution #ChristianPersecution] 09/08

A court in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore has sentenced a Christian man to death for having committed “blasphemy”, his lawyer says, in the latest case of Pakistan’s strict religious laws being applied against minorities.

Asif Pervaiz, 37, has been in custody since 2013 when he was accused of having sent “blasphemous” text messages to a former supervisor at work according to lawyer Saif-ul-Malook.

The court rejected Asif Pervaiz’s testimony wherein he denied the charges and sentenced him to death on Tuesday.

“The complainant was a supervisor in a hosiery factory where Asif Pervaiz was working under him.”
– Saif-ul-Malook

“He denied the allegations and said that this man was trying to get him to convert to Islam.”

Speaking in his own defence in court earlier in the trial, Asif Pervaiz claimed the supervisor confronted him after he quit work at the factory, and when he refused to convert he was accused of having sent blasphemous text messages to the man.

Muhammad Saeed Khokher, the complainant in the case, denies wanting to convert Asif Parvaiz, according to his lawyer, Ghulam Mustafa Chaudhry.

“He has taken this defence after the fact, because he had no other clear defence. That’s why he accused him of trying to convert him.”
– Ghulam Mustafa Chaudhry

According to Ghulam Mustafa Chaudhry, there were other Christian employees at the factory, but none have accused Saif-ul-Malook of proselytizing.

Pakistan’s strict blasphemy laws prescribe a mandatory death penalty for the crime of insulting Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, and strict penalties for other infractions such as insulting Islam, the holy Quran or certain holy people.

There are currently at least 80 people in prison in Pakistan for the crime of “blasphemy”, with at least half of them facing life sentences or the death penalty, according to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).

Those accused under the laws are mainly Muslim, in a country where 98 percent of the population follows Islam, but the laws disproportionately target members of minorities such as Christians and Hindus.

Pakistan sentences Christian man to death for ‘blasphemous texts’:
Aljazeera.com

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