A man has been sentenced to death by a court in Pakistan after posting ‘blasphemous content’ to Facebook.
Taimoor Raza was convicted after allegedly posting comments about the Prophet Muhammad, his wives and companions, reports the BBC.
The public prosecutor said he thought Raza’s case was the first related to social media. Now humans rights campaigners are up in arms.
Facebook has not yet commented on the ruling, which was heard by an anti-terrorism court in Bahawalpur, about 309 miles from the capital Islamabad.
Raza’s defence lawyer said he’d become embroiled in an argument about Islam on the social media site with a counter-terrorism official posing as a stranger.
He will be able to appeal the decision at Lahore High Court and then, if necessary, Pakistan’s Supreme Court.
Amnesty International recently published a damning criticism of the existing blasphemy laws in Pakistan, saying:
[They] enable abuse and violate the country’s international legal obligations to respect and protect a range of human rights, including freedom of religion or belief and of opinion and expression.
Once someone is charged, they can be denied bail and face lengthy and unfair trials.
A court in Pakistan temporarily blocked local access to Facebook seven years ago after a contest to draw images of the Prophet was promoted across the social network.