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January 25, 2014

Briton sentenced to death for blasphemy

 
January 25, 2014

ISLAMABAD: A court has sentenced a British man to death for blasphemy, a prosecutor and police said on Friday.
Mohammad Asghar, a British national of Pakistani origin, was arrested in 2010 in Rawalpindi for writing blasphemous letters, police said.The special court inside Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail, where Asghar is being held, rejected defence claims that the 65-year-old has mental health problems.
The court also ordered Asghar to pay a fine of Rs1 million, Javed Gul, a government prosecutor, said.Asghar has a long history of mental health problems, including hospital treatment in Scotland in 2003, according to a source close to the case. The source, who did not want to be named, said Asghar had attempted suicide while being held in Adiala prison. The court refused to accept Asghar’s British medical records, the source said. A medical board examined Asghar after defence lawyers said he was suffering from some mental disorder, but the prosecutor Gul said they “declared him as a normal person”.
A police official in Sadiq Abad neighbourhood of Rawalpindi, where Asghar was arrested, confirmed the death sentence. The British High Commission in Islamabad said it was aware of the case and was providing consular assistance but would not comment in detail.

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