Death sentence in blasphemy riot case

LAHORE: A court sentenced a Christian man to death for blasphemy on Thursday, his lawyer said, over an incident that triggered a riot in the country’s second-largest city.Sawan Masih was convicted of insulting Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) during the course of a conversation with a Muslim friend in the Joseph Colony neighbourhood of Lahore in March last year.More than 3,000 Muslims rampaged through Joseph Colony, torching some 100 Christian homes, after the allegations against Masih emerged.Naeem Shakir, one of Masih’s lawyers, told AFP, “The judge has announced the death sentence for Sawan Masih. We will appeal the sentence in the Lahore High Court.” The verdict and sentence were announced inside the jail where Masih was held, Shakir said. Masih has maintained his innocence and argued the real reason for the blasphemy allegation was a property dispute between him and his friend. No one was killed in the rampage through Joseph Colony last year.

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