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Sep 16, 2017 09:21 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Man sentenced to death for blasphemy in Pakistan

Nadeem James Masih a 35 year old from Sara-e-Alamgir town in Punjab was arrested after a friend accused him of ridiculing Prophet Muhammad on WhatsApp

A Christian man has been sentenced to death for blasphemy by a court in Pakistan. The man was arrested last year for allegedly making fun of Islam.

Nadeem James Masih a 35-year-old from Sara-e-Alamgir town in Pakistan's Punjab was arrested after a friend accused him of ridiculing Prophet Muhammad on WhatsApp. In a trial that was held within the prison for security reasons, James was given the capital punishment. Besides the death sentence, Masih has been fined Rs 300,000, said a PTI report.

According to PTI sources, Masih’s lawyer Anjum Wakeel has said that he will appeal against the decision. "My client will appeal in the Lahore High Court as he has been framed for having an affair with a Muslim girl."

In Pakistan, which is a Muslim majority country it is a crime to criticize Islam.

The controversial blasphemy laws were introduced by former military ruler Zia-ul Haq in the 1980s and anyone charged under them becomes an easy target for extremists. Several people, particularly minorities, have been targeted in the country in the name of blasphemy.

In 2015, a Christian couple was burned in a brick kiln for desecrating the Quran. Earlier, a mob had burnt down nearly 125 homes of Christians in Lahore for alleged blasphemy by a Christian man. Former Punjab governor Salman Taseer was gunned down by his bodyguard after he called for a reformation in the blasphemy laws.

Civil rights groups have accused that the law is being misused by people to settle personal scores. Calls for any revaluation or reformation of the law has met with often violent oppositions.

(With inputs from PTI)

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