On September 9, 2005, a neighbor of Masih's demanded that Christians gathering in their town observe Muslim and not Christian rituals, precipitating an argument between him and Masih, according to Masih's lawyer. The resident accused Masih of blasphemy two days later, and a lower-ranking officer investigated and arrested him.The new Pakistani ambassador to the Holy See just presented her credentials to the Holy Father, when he reminded the Pakistani government about the importance of democracy, but (at least according to the AP report), didn't directly address the issue of religious freedom.
Masih's lawyer based his defense on the requirements of the law itself. In 2004, after increasing pleas for the amendment of blasphemy laws, Pakistan's national assembly made an effort to appease rights groups by permitting only senior police officers to investigate blasphemy cases, a measure which had not been implemented in Masih's case.
Masih was not at the trial. He remained at Kol Lakhpat jail and appeared in the courtroom on video—the first video blasphemy trial in Pakistan. Masih's lawyer plans to appeal the death sentence, he told AsiaNews.it, a Catholic news service.
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Pakistan's blasphemy laws ...
Also at CT, two new cases of the blasphemy law being used against Christians in Pakistan.