Blasphemy Charges Dropped After Christian Man Spends Seven Years in Prison
A court has acquitted a Christian man who was sentenced to death for blasphemy six years ago in the country’s second largest city, lawyers said on Thursday. Younis Masih, 34, a labourer, was arrested in September 2005 in the low-income Qenchi Amar Siddhu neighbourhood of Lahore after local residents accused him of interrupting a gathering of Sufi singing to make blasphemous remarks.
Masih’s lawyer, Naeem Shakir, said his client was sentenced to death in May 2007 and fined Rs 100,000, but appealed to the high court in Lahore. “The high court on Wednesday decided to overturn the death sentence and ordered that Masih be acquitted,” Shakir told AFP. “I argued the case in February and put to the court that there is no direct evidence against Younis Masih and that the case was based on hearsay,” he said.