Muslim sentenced to death for Facebook post

Taimoor Raza Local Administration
Taimoor Raza Local Administration

A 30-year-old Muslim man has been sentenced to death for posting "blasphemous" content on Facebook in Pakistan.

Taimoor Raza was sentenced in Bahawalpur in eastern Punjab province after being arrested in 2016 for posting offensive content about Sunni leaders and the wives of Prophet Mohammed on the popular social networking platform, the Associated Press reports.

A Shia Muslim, he had previously been arrested by the counter-terrorism force after a complaint was made that he was showing people offensive material on his phone at a bus terminal.

Pakistan has strict anti-blasphemy laws, and anyone accused of insulting God, Islam or a religious leader can be sentenced to death.

This isn't the first time the harsh sentence has been handed out in the Sunni-majority country.

In 2014, a Christian couple were found guilty of sending a text message insulting the Prophet to the imam of their local mosque.

Pakistan's blasphemy laws are a violation of human rights, and are often used against religious minorities, according to a new report by Amnesty International.

Audrey Gaughran, the director of global issues and research at the charity, said: "Once a person is accused, they become ensnared in a system that offers them few protections, presumes them guilty, and fails to safeguard them against people willing to use violence."

Police are able to arrest the accused without checking to see if the charge makes sense.

In the case of the Christian couple this is an especially salient point. The duo were accused of sending the text in English, despite the reports they are illiterate.

As of yet, no one convicted of blasphemy has been executed, however the deeply conservative nature of the country means that even an accusation is enough to invite mob violence.

In 2014 distinguished human rights lawyer Rashid Rehman was shot dead in his office. A pamphlet distributed around his place of work said he was killed because he had tried to "save a blasphemer."

News Corp Australia

Young man killed in tragic Western Downs crash

Premium Content Young man killed in tragic Western Downs crash

A young motorbike rider has lost his life after he was involved in a fatal crash in...

Brisbane preferred candidate to host 2032 Olympics

Premium Content Brisbane preferred candidate to host 2032 Olympics

Olympics 2032: Brisbane gets IOC green light to go for Olympic gold

Qld’s $8.9b drug habit skyrockets

Premium Content Qld’s $8.9b drug habit skyrockets

Drug use in Queensland: Cocaine and ecstasy use surges