Scholar’s blasphemy trial enters final stage

Thank you for your reading and interest in the news Scholar’s blasphemy trial enters final stage and now with details

Aden - Yasmin Abdel Azim - Islamabad: A Pakistani court will hear final arguments on Thursday in the blasphemy trial of a liberal scholar and former university lecturer a week after a US religious freedom commission placed his name on its list of global victims, his lawyer said.

Junaid Hafeez, who quit his studies at Pakistan’s top medical college to pursue a passion for art and literature, secured a Fulbright scholarship and attended Jackson State University in 2009 where he majored in American literature, photography and theatre with distinction.

He has been in solitary confinement in Pakistan for fear of being attacked by fellow inmates in jail since his arrest in 2013 on blasphemy charges linked to online posts.

Insulting Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) carries a mandatory death penalty in Pakistan, which is about 95 per cent Muslim and has some of the harshest blasphemy laws in the world.

The US Commission on International Religious Freedom said Hafeez and his family had been facing murder threats.

In 2013, students at a university in central Pakistan where Hafeez taught English literature accused him of blasphemous posts.

His lawyers say he was framed by students from an extremist Islamist party for his liberal and secular views.

“Hafeez has experienced extreme trauma to his mental and physical health,” the commission wrote under his bio data on the global religious freedom list updated this week.

“It is a kind of a recognition that people are being persecuted in Pakistan for their belief and freedom of expression,” his lawyer, Asad Jamal, told Reuters.

He said a judge would hear final arguments both from prosecution and defence on Thursday.

Since the trial began, several judges have backed out of hearing the case due to death threats.

“The lengthy trial is now on its eighth judge and the prosecution has repeatedly failed to produce evidence of the alleged blasphemy,” the commission said, adding that one defence lawyer had been murdered.

No executions for blasphemy have been carried out in Pakistan but merely an allegation at times is enough for a mob to lynch someone accused of blasphemy.

The Centre for Social Justice, a rights group, says at least 1,549 people have faced blasphemy charges since 1987 and 75 of them were murdered.

A Christian woman spent eight years on death row falsely charged with blasphemy before she was acquitted and left the country. A provincial governor and a minister were killed for taking up her case.

Asia Bibi’s release in October last year sparked rioting by hardline Islamists, who rejected the Supreme Court’s verdict and warned Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government that she must not be allowed to leave the country.

These were the details of the news Scholar’s blasphemy trial enters final stage for this day. We hope that we have succeeded by giving you the full details and information. To follow all our news, you can subscribe to the alerts system or to one of our different systems to provide you with all that is new.

It is also worth noting that the original news has been published and is available at Gulf News and the editorial team at AlKhaleej Today has confirmed it and it has been modified, and it may have been completely transferred or quoted from it and you can read and follow this news from its main source.

PREV Brazil's Bolsonaro urges no more coronavirus quarantine, says jobs being lost
NEXT Covid-19: Singapore political office holders to take three-month pay cut