Global News - Redeem the Oppressed

A Christian youth was wrongfully sentenced to death in a blasphemy case

A Pakistani court in Bahawalpur has wrongfully convicted a Christian youth in a blasphemy case, awarding him death penalty. Details emerged that Nouman Maish, 22, was accused of committing blasphemy against the Prophet of Islam, which is punishable under section 295-C of PPC by death.

Nouman Masih was booked by the police in June 2019, when the police raided his house in the small hours. However, police claimed that they arrested Nouman from a park at half past 3 in the morning where he was caught showing blasphemous images to a group of 9 to 10 people. Nouman was booked under 295-C, FIR no. 366/19 was registered at the Baghdadul Jadeed Police Station against him on the complaint of Sub Inspector Muhammad Arshad Nadeem. The complainant stated that he received a secret information that Nouman was sitting in a public park at 3:30 a.m. with a group of 9 to 10 people showing them blasphemous images on his phone.

The attorney for Nouman expressed dissappointment over the Sessions Court’s ruling against his client. “I’m extremely disappointed by the conviction, because there was absolutely no case,” he was quoted by a news agency. “There was no proof against Noman, and none of the witnesses produced by police could corroborate the blasphemy allegation against him.”

Nouman was tried by a Sessions Court in Bahawalpur and the prosecution failed to provide evidence of the charges against him. The court had concluded his trial earlier in January this year, however, was delaying the verdict on various pretexts. On May 30, 2023, Nouman was eventually handed a death penalty by the Additional Sessions Judge Muhammad Hafeez Ur Rehman.
Nouman’s attorney said that after the verdict will be challenged at the Bahawalpur Bench of the Lahore High Court within the mandatory seven-day period. In a separate blasphemy case against Nouman in Bahawalnagar, his attorney said that the trial has been concluded and the verdict in expected soon.

By Farrukh Saif

Farrukh Saif is a Pakistani human rights activist based in Germany. He founded his own organization, the Farrukh Saif Foundation (FSF), in 2009 with the goal of supporting marginalized and oppressed minorities in Pakistan who are affected by religious discrimination, blasphemy laws, forced conversions, abductions, rape, and bonded slavery. The main focus of the FSF is on the liberation of bonded laborers, particularly those working in brick kilns in rural areas of Pakistan. In 2018, the FSF merged with the US-based Emergency Committee to Save the Persecuted and Enslaved. Throughout his career, Farrukh has been a leading voice for the rights of minorities in Pakistan and has gained international attention for his campaigns against the misuse of blasphemy laws and the belief that asylum is not a crime. In 2014, he played a key role in the release of hundreds of asylum seekers from Thai jails and has worked with his legal team to save numerous victims of strict blasphemy laws in Pakistan. Farrukh has also been invited by the Hungarian government to discuss his work and the issues he addresses. In addition to his work with the FSF, Farrukh has also been involved in various other humanitarian efforts, including providing health care services to internally displaced persons in Khayber Pakhtoon Khawa in 2009 and assisting flood victims in Sindh and Punjab in 2010. He has worked to aid victimized minorities in Pakistan and has a strong track record of successfully advocating for their rights. Farrukh joined forces with Keith Davies in 2018 to co-found the Emergency Committee to Save The Persecuted and Enslaved, and since 2009, they have collectively successfully rescued more than 36000 individuals from slavery and persecution.