Pakistan: Christian Youth Wrongfully Convicted In A Blasphemy Case, Death Penalty Awarded
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.