A Lahore court judge has handed down a death sentence to a man accused of blasphemy on Wednesday, as well as a fine of Rs100,000 ($16,500). Defendant Younis Masih, of Chungi Amar Sadhu had been charged with making derogatory remarks against the Prophet Mohammad, an offence punishable by hanging or life imprisonment according to state law. However, the lawyer claimed the case against his client was concocted. Defence counsel Pervaiz Aslam Chaudhry said the trial at the prison had been arranged due to security reasons, adding that all evidence in the case was also recorded through a video facility.

The lawyer said the Christian community had arranged a spiritual gathering in Chungi Amar Sadhu in 2005 when neighbour Abdul Aziz, also a complainant in the case, objected to it. It turned into an exchange of harsh words in which the complainant alleged that the accused had used derogatory remarks.

The lawyer said that the case had not been investigated properly. He contended that the offence required investigation by an officer not below the rank of SP under section 156-A of the CrPC. But, he claimed, a sub-inspector had investigated the case. Chaudhry said he would appeal against the decision.

The court also directed the police to provide security to the lawyer who had been receiving threats during the trial.

Yesterday’s was the first ever blasphemy trial to be video-televised, which had been arranged at the jail due to security issues.

Source: ADNKronos International



  1. 1 Parvez Aslam Choudhry Advocate
    June 28, 2007 at 9:38 pm

    Dear Sir/Madam,
    I am lawyer of Younas Maish and I contested most of blasphemy in pakistan under the platform of LADS(legal aid for destitute& settlement) being chairman.life of me,family are at stake all the times.
    Your conern is need for the security.You can contact for further information.hope for reply.
    Parvez Aslam Choudhry Advocate
    Chairman LADS

  2. June 28, 2007 at 9:39 pm

    AI Index: ASA 33/012/2007 18 June 2007

    Urgent Actions
    Amnesty International’s global Urgent Action network provides an effective and rapid means of preventing some of the most life-threatening human rights violations against individuals.
    Join the Urgent Action network

    See also
    Pakistan: Death threats/fear for safety/possible death penalty/prisoner of conscience


    Pakistan: Further information on death threats/fear for safety/possible death penalty/prisoner of conscience. New concern: Death penalty
    PUBLIC AI Index: ASA 33/012/2007

    18 June 2007

    Further Information on UA 28/06 (ASA 33/003/2006, 3 February 2006) – Death
    threats/ fear for safety/ prisoner of conscience New concern: Death

    PAKISTAN Younis Masih (m)
    Parvez Aslam Choudhry (m), his lawyer

    Younis Masih, a Pakistani Christian, was sentenced to death for blasphemy by
    the Sessions Court in Lahore on 30 May. He is appealing against his sentence.
    He has been attacked twice by inmates at Kot Lakhpat prison in Lahore where he
    is detained, and remains at risk of further attack at the hands of prisoners
    and guards. Amnesty International considers him to be a prisoner of conscience,
    detained solely for the peaceful exercise of the right to freedom of
    expression. His lawyer, Parvez Aslam Choudhry, has survived an apparent attempt
    on his life and has been threatened and harassed as a result of his involvement
    in the case.

    Younis Masih is alleged to have made derogatory remarks about the Prophet
    Mohammed at a religious service held at a house near his own on 9 September
    2005, in the Chunngi Amar Sadu area of Lahore. He denies this, and a local
    newspaper quoted his wife as saying that he was attacked after he went to the
    house at around midnight and asked the people inside not to sing so loudly, as
    he was in mourning for his nephew, who had recently died. The Muslim cleric who
    had led the service filed a complaint against Younis Masih on 10 September
    2005, accusing him of offences under Section 295C of the Pakistan penal code,
    which deals with blasphemy.

    During the trial before the Sessions Court, Younis Masih gave evidence via a
    video link due to concerns for his safety, making it the first blasphemy case
    to use video technology. The lawyer for the cleric who filed the complaint
    against Younis Masih reportedly threatened Parvez Aslam Choudhry during his
    defence. The lawyer also received a separate death threat at midnight on 9
    June, when an anonymous caller telephoned him and told him that he and Younis
    Masih would be killed. The trial was reportedly unfair, as it is claimed that
    the prosecution case was based on hearsay, and not direct evidence, and that
    changes had been made to the original prosecution witness statements. The judge
    ordered the Punjab police to provide protection to Parvez Aslam Choudhry
    because of the threats made against him, but the lawyer has stated that this
    order has not been implemented.

    On 11 May 2006, unknown assailants deliberately rammed their car into Parvez
    Aslam Choudhry’s car, which then was pushed off the road and fell forty feet.
    One passenger, lawyer Rana Javed Rafiq, died instantly. Parvez Aslam Choudhry
    and his colleague Ijaz Victor were hospitalized for a number of days after the
    incident. On two occasions in February and July 2006, Parvez Aslam Choudhry was
    threatened at gun point by Muslim men who warned that his life was in danger if
    he continued to represent blasphemy cases.

    The blasphemy laws of Pakistan, while purporting to protect Islam and the
    religious sensitivities of the Muslim majority, are vaguely formulated and
    arbitrarily enforced by the police and judiciary in a way which amounts to
    harassment and persecution of religious minorities. Many of those accused or
    suspected of blasphemy have been assaulted or tortured. People detained on
    blasphemy charges in prisons including Kot Lakhpat, where Younis Masih is held,
    have been killed by fellow detainees or prison wardens. Others suspected of
    blasphemy, but not under arrest, have been unlawfully killed without police
    taking any action to protect them.

    “Defiling the name of the Prophet Mohammed” is a capital offence under Section
    295C of the Pakistan Penal Code, which states, “Whoever by words, either spoken
    or written or by visible representation, or by any imputation, innuendo, or
    insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy
    Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) shall be punished with death, or
    imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to a fine”. The Federal Shariat
    Court, whose tasks include reviewing laws to ensure they conform with Islamic
    doctrine, ruled in 1991 that anyone convicted of blasphemy should face the
    death penalty, not life imprisonment.

    Articles 18 and 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights set out that
    everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion, opinion and
    expression. International human rights law provides that any limitations placed
    on these freedoms should be only such as are prescribed by law as well as being
    necessary and proportionate for, among other things, the protection of the
    rights and freedoms of others. Amnesty International considers people
    imprisoned under blasphemy laws for exercising their right to freedom of
    opinion and expression to be prisoners of conscience.

    AI Index: ASA 33/012/2007 18 June 2007

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    Further information
    AI Report 2005 entry

    Back to Top

  3. 3 Parvez Aslam Choudhry
    May 1, 2008 at 10:52 am

    Dear Sir/Madam
    Frontline Appeal for my security is for your concern and information.
    Best Regards
    Parvez Aslam Choudhry Advocate
    Chairman LADS
    Pakistan: Attack and death threats against human rights defender Parvez Aslam Choudhry


    Front Line is deeply concerned following reports of the attack and death threats against human rights defender Parvez Aslam Choudhry. Parvez Aslam Choudhry is Chairman of Legal Aid for the Destitute and Settlement (LADS) in Lahore. In 2003 he was awarded the Bishop John Joseph Award by Pakistan Minorities Front for his outstanding work in defending the rights of minorities at considerable personal risk.

    Further Information

    Posted 16/04/2008On 8 April 2008, at approximately 12.00 midnight, Parvez Aslam Choudhry received an anonymous telephone call threatening both him and his family. Parvez Aslam Choudhry was reportedly told he was to be killed because he was a Christian lawyer defending a Christian person accused of blasphemy. Similar threats were also made against him inside the court by witnesses. The case in question concerns a former Christian who converted to Islam before marrying Muslim woman.

    On 6 April 2008, Parvez Aslam Choudhry was attacked by a large mob when he arrived at court for the bail hearing. His car was damaged and the mob threatened to kill him. Parvez Aslam Choudhry’s application for the court to take legal action was accepted but action has reportedly yet to be taken.

    Parvez Aslam Choudhry has previously been the subject of death threats. Front Line believes that the attack and death threats against Parvez Aslam Choudhry are an attempt to dissuade him from continuing with his legitimate and peaceful work in the defence of human rights. Front Line is concerned for his security and physical and psychological integrity, as well as that of his family members.

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