Peshawar ATC sentences man to death over ‘blasphemy’
An anti-terrorism court in Peshawar has convicted and sentenced a man to death after he was accused of posting blasphemous content in a WhatsApp group.
The man was convicted under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act and Anti-Terrorist Act by an ATC in Peshawar on Friday.
“Accused [‘Z’] in custody has been convicted and sentenced after being found guilty,” the court order said, a copy of which was obtained by AFP.
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The convict, who is a resident of Mardan, was also fined Rs800,000 and handed a total of 23 years imprisonment.
AFP put the fine amount at Rs1.2 million. He has the right to appeal.
The case arose after a resident of Talagang district in Punjab filed an application with the Federal Investigation Agency two years ago accusing the convict of posting blasphemous content in a WhatsApp group, the complainant’s counsel Ibrar Hussain told AFP.
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The “FIA had confiscated [the convict’s] cell phone and its forensic examination proved him guilty”, he said.
The man was accused of sharing blasphemous content from various social media accounts, and sentenced to death on being found guilty.
The FIA had arrested the accused in 2021.
Although many cases involve Muslims accusing fellow Muslims, rights activists have warned that religious minorities – particularly Christians – are often caught in the crossfire, with blasphemy charges used to settle personal scores.
According to the National Commission of Justice and Peace, 774 Muslims and 760 members of various minority religious groups were accused of blasphemy in the last 20 years.