Man sentenced to death for ‘blasphemy’ on Facebook in Pakistan

Jun 20, 2017

By Annie Gowen

A 30-year-old man in Pakistan has been sentenced to death after conviction for committing “blasphemy” on Facebook, the latest incident in the country’s widening crackdown on dissent on social media.

An anti-terrorism court in the city of Bahawalpur on Saturday sentenced Taimoor Raza, 30, after he was found guilty of making derogatory remarks about the prophet Muhammad, his wives and others, prosecutors said.

The details of Raza’s specific comments were unclear. But the sentence was the first such death sentence for a Facebook post in Pakistan.

Pakistan’s harsh anti-blasphemy law provides for due process and trial, but executions happen rarely. Human rights advocates have raised concerns that the law can be misused to attack personal enemies or kick off riots.

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