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Pakistan gives 1st-ever death sentence for online blasphemy

post by Ankush/Sanjeev Rana on 12 Jun 2017,Monday

For the first time ever, an anti-terrorism court in Pakistan has sentenced a man named Taimoor Raza to death for allegedly committing blasphemy on social media. Raza was arrested last year with 14 others in a blasphemy crackdown. Raza’s legal representative has claimed that he had been charged with two unrelated sections of the law to ensure the maximum penalty.

Social media represents a new battleground for the Pakistani fight against blasphemy. Authorities have asked Twitter and Facebook to help identify users sharing blasphemous material, and have distributed text messages encouraging Pakistanis to report fellow citizens.

Human rights defenders have expressed concern that the country’s blasphemy laws, and the authorities’ zealous application of them, provide 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,” said Saroop Ijaz, a lawyer with Human Rights Watch in Pakistan.

Read more at  The Guardian

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