Pakistan Hands Down First-Ever Death Sentence For Blaspheming On Facebook

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Originally appeared at ZeroHedge

A Pakistani counter-terrorism court just handed down the first death penalty for blaspheming on social media on Sunday, according to Reuters. The ruling is the latest step in an intensifying crackdown on dissent on social media by the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Pakistan Hands Down First-Ever Death Sentence For Blaspheming On Facebook

Taimoor Raza, 30, was convicted for making derogatory remarks about the Prophet Mohammad, his wives and companions, according to Shafiq Qureshi, a public prosecutor in Bahawalpur, a city about 300 miles south of provincial capital Lahore. Raza was arrested last year after a debate about Islam on Facebook with a man who turned out to be a counter-terrorism agent. He was one among 15 people arrested by the counter-terrorism department last year, accused of blasphemy, according to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and Reuters.

Raza’s brother, Waseem Abbas, told the Guardian that the family was “poor but literate”, and belonged to Pakistan’s minority Shia Muslim community.

My brother indulged in a sectarian debate on Facebook with a person, who we later come to know, was a [counter-terrorism department] official with the name of Muhammad Usman,” he said.

As Reuters reports, blasphemy is a highly sensitive topic in Muslim-majority Pakistan, where insulting the Prophet Mohammad is a capital crime for which dozens are sitting on death row. Even mere accusations are enough to spark mass uproar and mob justice.

“An anti-terrorism court of Bahawalpur has awarded him the death sentence,” Qureshi told Reuters.It is the first ever death sentence in a case that involves social media.

Authorities have asked Twitter and Facebook to help identify users sharing blasphemous material, and have distributed text messages encouraging Pakistanis to report fellow citizens, according to the Guardian. Human rights defenders have expressed concern that the zealous application of the country’s blasphemy laws provides a tool for people to carry out personal vendettas, particularly because nobody is ever punished for making false accusations.

“The casual manner in which death sentences are handed in blasphemy cases coupled with the lack of orientation of Pakistani courts with technology makes this a very dangerous situation,” Saroop Ijaz, a lawyer with Human Rights Watch in Pakistan, told the Guardian.

“Such sentences will embolden those who want to wrongly frame people,” he said, noting with concern that Saturday’s sentence was handed down by an anti-terrorism court, not a regular court. “The confusion between national security and religion is very alarming,” Ijaz said.

The death sentence is part of a larger campaign of suppression: The Federal Investigation Agency recently detained dozens of social media users for posting “anti-military” content, including journalists and supporters of the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e Insaf (PTI) party, one of whom shared a satirical photo of prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

While Raza is the first person sentenced to death for blasphemy on social media, several others are on death row for alleged blasphemy in public. Among them is Asia Bibi, a Christian woman convicted in 2010 after a row with two Muslim women in a village in Punjab. With a long-awaited final appeal adjourned, Bibi is still in solitary confinement.

In Pakistan, blasphemy is so contentious that the mere mention of unfounded allegations can ignite mass uproar. In April, a mob at a north-western university took 23-year-old Mashal Khan from his dormitory and lynched him, angered by accusations that Khan had offended Islam.

Last week, a joint investigation concluded the baseless allegations had been a conspiracy by some students and university staff.

In May, a 10-year-old boy was killed when a mob tried to storm a police station in Balochistan in anger at a man held on blasphemy charges. Four people were sentenced to death for blasphemy last year, according to the HRCP.

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  • Ronald

    Pakistan is poor , it is no wonder , they have no respect for the Spirit of Life .
    Wonderful influence of Wahhabi Islam .

    • deeg

      ronaldo yr not job suni and shit

  • hvaiallverden

    Its an shame to witness this in this days, where religion is under attack and is hammered by people whom knows little or whatever they think, is downright wrong, completely wrong.

    Let it be clear, killing any human, is killing the entire race, its no exceptions what so ever apart from self deference and saving others from been killed or harmed in any way, and where in this is then what character anyone have, what does that have to do with been human, everything.

    What is it with “religious” people that makes them so intolerant, violent and ignorant, to their own teaching, what is it with their inability to realize we humans are different, some believe some dont, Yeshua said to what the difference between the living and the dead.
    But dont judge them by that, that path is based upon knowledge and wisdom gained.
    What anyone may think right now can change to morrow, and then to place ones own “perceptions of faith” to justify violence and an “punishment” of what I see as just displaying their own “learned” and “practicing” of utter ignorance, and that’s it.
    If any person is lets say, Gay, why, its this persons faith, given to Him by our Creator, as an path, why again, that I leave to our creator and will not judge, apart from obvious crimes, when I also know that this person may be an loving, caring person, respected worker, reverenced trader, and doing no other harm that sex, do you really think, our God whom is merciful and benevolent, would just skip that, the day of judgment, do you even know what you talk about, do you, when it comes to our Creator, the initiator of everything.
    Tsk, tsk, tsk.

    Its those that I will judge harder, is those that are hypocrites, imposing the Gods laws as they claim.
    To be unable to see the difference, to make their own clouded passion and social “morale” hidden in their judgments witch they claim is according to our Creator.
    To be an ignorant fool isnt an crime, to oppose your perception of our world isnt an crime, to think different,isnt an crime, to tell different isnt an crime, to steal, rape and kill is an crime, never ever forget that.
    That, Muslims is your own death trap, I cant underline how serious this is, this goes to Christians as well, more I will say, but both the perversions is and are institutionalized and the scriptures used is mans won words and interpretations witch they claim is the words of our creator.
    And they on top of it claim, and this is right, our Creator all knowing all encompassing, and to then claim our Creator creates something “unclean” is blasphemy, because thats simply you interpretations, nothing else.
    To not eat pigs, was more of an health issue than something about pigs, nothing wrong with pigs, but the environment they lived in, made them dangerous as food (aka worms like Trikiner, once inside you are practically dead, thats how serious it could be), this was incorporated into the teachings, but for health reasons only, not forget Muhammad and Yeshuas love for animals, that alone is forgotten, they where firsley pro-animal care, both of them.

    This is an shame, and how on earth can this even happen, I am an peaceful man, would never hammer my own neighbor hood, because someone acts differently or speaks differently than what I consider proper, to do what, improve the street, huh, whine and threats with violence if they dont apply.
    Thats an ignorant and an stupid mans way, or as we all know them as genuine assh……
    Genuine assh……. grows everywhere, even in Outer Mongolia, all the time, learn to live with it, why bother, because eventually, its even stated in the Quran, its your own actions, that makes the difference, take care of your self, done be affected by the massive wall of bullshit we all see every waking hour.
    Live as an Good Muslims, be the light, and people will see it, and then they will come to you.
    Thats an true Muslim.
    The best way to love God is to love life, God is life, and Life is God, the only wall in this realm, is what we place in to it, nothing else.

    peace

    • Solomon Krupacek

      can you write less? so is tldr always

      • Concrete Mike

        Really Solomon, hé just poured His Heart out and all you can Say is too long didnt Read,

        Take thé Time to Read what he sais, its the truth and its rightieous.

        Stop being à stupid troll for a minute and use your head.

    • Concrete Mike

      Great comment friend, you understand the situation perfect, Do you Read the sakers blog by any chance? He touched this issue beautiful in an article on April.

      Regardless great post, it may bé too complicated for simpler people but I got it. Good job!!?

  • adzsiam

    Looks like the Iranian Shiite vs Saudi Sunni war has been ramped up in a country that is not only ethnically and religiously splintered, but also politically and economically unsound.

  • hhabana

    Europe and America should continue importing these immigrants so that these Muslim values can be embraced and shared by everyone. (/sarc)

  • northerntruthseeker .

    Honestly… Are You Kidding Me????