Pakistan: Blasphemy charge and death sentence overturned

Younis Masih

Morning Star News is reporting that a court in Pakistan overturned the death sentence on Wednesday of a Christian convicted under Pakistan's "blasphemy" laws and ordered him released.

Younis Masih, who has languished in jail since his arrest on 10 September 2005 was declared innocent by Lahore High Court justices Khaja Amtiaz Ahmed and Khalid Mehmood Khan, according to Legal Evangelical Association Development (LEAD).

The justices also overturned a 100,000-rupee (US$1,013) fine against him.

"On September 9, 2005, he left a midnight gathering at a house after Muslims loudly singing a religious song became angry at him for requesting that they sing more quietly," reports Morning Star News.

"The Muslims incited others against him the next day and beat him unconscious. Islamic leaders later incited mobs to burn Christians' homes, saying Masih had committed blasphemy and uttered derogatory remarks against Muhammad, the prophet of Islam.

"More than 100 Christian families fled their homes. Police filed a blasphemy case against Masih in order to pacify the furious mobs and tortured him in custody."

He was sentenced to death by a judge in Lahore in 2007. The appeal was filed by the Legal Aid for Destitute and Settlement, and his case was re-opened in September 2012.

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