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Pakistan: Christian youth Noman Masih sentenced to death under draconian blasphemy laws

A court in Pakistan has awarded the death sentence and imposed a fine of Rs 20,000 on a Christian youth for allegedly sharing blasphemous material on a messaging app. A complaint was filed against him four years ago.

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.

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 Masih'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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