CHRISTIAN BREAKING NEWS: Who is Fanson Shahid? Christian Sentenced to Life Imprisonment under Pakistan’s Blasphemy Law | Time Running Out to File an Appeal [#FansonShahid]
A judge sentenced a Christian to life in jail under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws over a social media message, which his family claims was posted from a phone taken from him, according to reports.
Fanson Shahid, 56, was assaulted in his house in Lahore when he was seized in March 2022 and tortured into confessing after being suspected of making a disrespectful statement against the prophet of Islam in a comment on another Christian’s page, according to his wife.
Justice Zafar Yab Chadhar of the Additional Sessions Court Gujranwala District, Punjab Province, imposed the punishment on Jan. 24, but the family did not make it public until today.
Investigators discovered Fanson Shahid’s Facebook account was active on the new phone they retrieved in 2022 and presented it as proof that he posted the statement.
His wife, Safia Shahid, stated at the time, “We believe that the lost phone was misused by someone to post the blasphemous comment, because my husband did not use a passcode for its security, and his Facebook account was also logged in.”
Fanson Shahid was convicted under Section 295-C of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, which mandates the death penalty for derogatory statements about Muhammad, although Chadhar highlighted the fact that the message was posted “only once” as a “mitigating circumstance.”
“If a single doubt or ground is available creating reasonable doubt in the mind of the court/judge to award even death penalty or life imprisonment, it would be sufficient circumstance to adopt alternative course by awarding life imprisonment instead of death sentence,” the verdict read.
He also fined Fanson Shahid 100,000 Pakistan rupees (US$ 358).
Shahid was also found guilty under Section 295-A, which forbids hurting religious sensibilities, and sentenced to 3 years in jail.
He was also convicted under Section 153-A, which forbids inciting communal violence, and sentenced to 1 year in prison and a 50,000 Pakistan rupee fine (US$ 179).
The judge also sentenced Shahid to 3 years in jail under Section 11 of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA) 2016, which outlaws the promotion of religious hate via social media.
According to the court’s verdict, the sentences will run concurrently.
Sonia Shahid stated that the verdict shook the family and members of the Full Gospel Assemblies Church.
Fanson Shahid has 2 children, and his family has been forced to evacuate from their house due to security concerns.
Sonia Shahid said the family was looking for help to file an appeal at the Lahore High Court.
The appeal must be submitted within 30 days of the verdict, and with less than a week remaining, the family has failed to locate suitable legal representation.
Fanson Shahid worked as a procurement officer for Pakistan Railways in Lahore and was about to retire in 8 years when he was imprisoned on blasphemy accusations in 2022.
NEWS SOURCE & LINKS:
Christian Daily International–Morning Star News
Who is Fanson Shahid? CHRISTIAN SENTENCED TO LIFE IMPRISONMENT under Pakistan’s Blasphemy Law… | Christian Breaking News!