According to a BBC report, a Pakistan-based man Taimoor Raza, 30, has been given a death sentence because of his alleged involvement in a Facebook post containing comments insulting a specific religion. It has been known that Raza made defamatory comments about the Prophet Muhammad in the post.
A public prosecutor involved in the case believes it’s probably the first case of a death sentence related to social media. It’s noteworthy that blasphemy a highly sensitive topic in Pakistan and it has been described as an “unpardonable offense” by the Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif.
Raza got indulged on the social media with a man whose identity was later revealed as Muhammad Usman who belonged to the anti-terrorism department, his brother told The Guardian. He was arrested after he played hate speech and blasphemous material from his phone at a bus stop, said the defense.
The Guardian reported that Raza is among the lot of 15 people, according to a report by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, who were last year arrested on similar grounds.
The verdict was ruled out by an anti-terrorism court in Bahawalpur city in the Pakistan. His defense attorney told the Guardian that the scope of the punishment was enhanced by adding two unrelated charges. The initial charge of “insulting remarks on sectarian grounds” under section 298A includes a prison sentence up to two years. Later, Raza was charged under section 295C of the penal code, related to “derogatory acts against Prophet Muhammad”, said the defense.
“We are deeply saddened and concerned by the death sentence served in Pakistan for a Facebook post,” said a Facebook spokesperson in a comment.
“Facebook uses powerful systems to keep people’s information secure and tools to keep their accounts safe, and we do not provide any government with direct access to people’s data. We will continue to protect our community from unnecessary or overreaching government intervention.”
Taimoor Raza can appeal against the court’s ruling to the High Court of Pakistan and the Supreme Court.
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