Sunday, February 19, 2017

Pakistan: Blasphemy accused Christian teenager ‘denied bail’

Nabeel’s defense counsel had maintained that the respondent is a juvenile with no previous history of criminal activity, therefore, he must be granted bail. However the bail plea was turned down by the magistrate during court hearing of his bail petition case Kasur Magistrates Court on February 7. 

Nabeel Masih son of Amanat Masih resident of Chak 66, Bhai Pheru, District Kasur, was fallaciously accused of posting a picture of Khana-e-Kaaba on Facebook which was deemed blasphemous by the complainant. In this case, Akhtar Ali the complainant claimed that he had seen a post on Nabeel Masih’s Facebook timeline; which was derogatory towards the Islamic sacred place. He maintained that Nabeel had blasphemed by posting the picture of Khana-e-Kaaba in a derogatory manner therefore; he has hurt the religious sentiments of Muslims.

Adding to the quandary of teenage Christian respondent, police sought to invoke the newly-fangled cyber-crime law against him.The case has already incited widespread indignation among the religious fanatics posing serious threat to the lives of the Nabeel, his family and the defense counsel. 

It has been reported previously, that the defense counsel of Nabeel Advocate Aneeqa Maria and her team were threatened by the prosecutor inside the court. Advocate Aneeqa told that the prosecutor Advocate Amin Muzammal Chaudhry had threatened her in front of the judge saying: “It is a blasphemy case and this man has […]. You should know that Pakistan is an Islamic state. We are all Muslims.”

“These are Muslim courts so you should not defend such a criminal. You people come here from Lahore to pursue this case. Here are so many people who you cannot face. So you better watch yourself and stay away.”

The incident has caused mush outcry from the rights activists and Christian community, calling for release of the Christian teenager.Furthermore, Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Shairf was also urged to help the blasphemy accused Christian teenager.In a letter to the Premier, the civil society and several citizens of Pakistan including Muslims have beseeched the Premier to look into the matter and take apt action.

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