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    Saturday, June 10, 2017

    First death sentence handed to Lahore man for blasphemy on social media

    An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) on Saturday sentenced a man to death for sharing blasphemous content about Islam on social media, a government prosecutor said.
    ATC Judge Shabir Ahmed announced the sentence for the 30-year-old accused in Bahawalpur.
    The Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) had arrested the accused, who belongs to the Shia community, last year from Bahawalpur and a case was registered against him at CTD Multan police station.
    The accused, who hails from Lahore, had allegedly posted derogatory content about prominent Sunni religious figures and wives of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) on Facebook.
    The sentence is the harshest among cyber-crime related sentences handed down so far in the country.
    Blasphemy has been a contentious issue in the country where people have been murdered over allegations of blasphemy. Earlier this year, a mob in Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan beat up a student, Mashal Khan, to death after accusing him of blasphemy over social media.
    The incident caused an outrage across the country, with calls for the blasphemy law to be amended. The investigation into Mashal's murder was concluded after a joint investigation team probing the case cleared him of all blasphemy charges.
    Pakistan is cracking down against blasphemy related crimes on social media with the Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar threatening to block all social media websites with 'blasphemous content' earlier this year.A man has been sentenced to death for committing blasphemy on Facebook, lawyers said Saturday, the first conviction on charges arising from social media.
    Judge Shabbir Ahmad Awan handed down the verdict in Bahawalpur, around 600 kilometres (372 miles) south of capital Islamabad, finding Taimoor Raza guilty , prosecutor Shafiq Qureshi told AFP.
    Raza had a Facebook argument about Islam with someone who turned out to be a counter-terrorism department official, defence lawyer Rana Fida Hussain told AFP.
    The official brought charges against Raza based on the comments made on the social networking site.
    Hussain said his client was innocent and that he would appeal the conviction.
    Millions of Pakistanis have been receiving text messages from the government warning them against sharing "blasphemous" content online.
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    Item Reviewed: First death sentence handed to Lahore man for blasphemy on social media Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Abdul Sattar Qamar