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Thursday, March 30, 2017
Appeal to save Pakistani Christian facing death sentence for blasphemy
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¬†Following a second death sentence passed last week on Ayub Masih, 35, for blasphemy, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has launched an appeal in the Pakistani Supreme Court. Masih was originally arrested on 14 October 1996 at his village of Arifabad, and sentenced to death by hanging on 27 April 1998. A CSW spokesperson said: "If Mr Masih's conviction and death sentence for blaspheming Islam and the Prophet Muhammad is upheld by the Supreme Court, only international intervention and clemency from Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf will stop the public hanging of Ayub Masih". CSW said Masih is being held in solitary confinement, with no light or toilet facility, in a cell less than two metres square, in which the temperature during the day can reach 49įC. Masih was arrested after a complaint filed by a Muslim, who alleged that he heard Masih say: "If you want to know the truth about Islam, then read Salman Rushdie". According to CSW, the charges were fabricated in order to force 15 Christian families to drop a land dispute in Masih's village. There are only five million Christians in Pakistan, out of a population of 140 million. The majority religion is Suni Moslem. CSW say that the blasphemy law has been widely used to settle personal disputes.
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