Life sentence upheld for Christian in blasphemy case in Pakistan
A court in Rawalpindi, Pakistan upheld the life sentence of a Christian convicted of sending blasphemous text messages in spite of the prosecution’s manipulated evidence and failure to establish his involvement, his lawyer said.
Zafar Bhatti, had been handed the life sentence, which in Pakistan is 25 years, on the 3rd of May, 2017, under Pakistan’s blasphemy law for allegedly sending text messages derogatory to Islam’s prophet. The Christian continues to deny the charge.
On the 22nd of June, an additional sessions judge in Rawalpindi District upheld Bhatti’s conviction even though new evidence presented by the prosecution again failed to directly link Bhatti with the alleged offense, according to his attorney.
In a bid to convert his life term into a death sentence, the complainant in the case, Ibrar Ahmed Khan, last year filed an application in the Lahore High Court (LHC) Rawalpindi Bench seeking forensic examination of cellular company audio samples to try to establish Bhatti’s direct involvement in the texts, attorney Tahir Bashir said.
Police had obtained audio samples from the cellular company during the trial, but they could not be examined forensically due to absence of a testing facility at that time, he said.