Death Sentence for Blasphemy (Pakistan)

A Pakistani judge sentenced a Muslim man to death Wednesday on charges he insulted Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, a court official said.

Falk Sher, a court administrator, said Judge Shoaib Ahmad Roomi also sentenced the man, Shafeeq Latif, to life in prison and fined him $75,000 on a separate charge of desecrating pages of Islam’s holy book, the Quran, in 2006.

Latif was accused of making derogatory remarks about Muhammad.

The trial was held in the eastern city of Sialkot after police arrested him in a nearby village.

Latif’s lawyer was not immediately available for comment, but Sher said the defendant had the right to appeal.

Under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, anyone who insults Muhammad can be punished by death. Scores of people, including Muslims and minority Christians, are facing trial under the laws, which human rights groups have demanded be abolished.

New York-based Human Rights Watch urged the government on Tuesday to abolish the death penalty in a country where nearly a quarter of all inmates are on death row.

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