The Pakistani authorities should immediately release a Christian man sentenced to death under the country’s draconian blasphemy laws and quash his conviction, Amnesty International said today.
Savan Masih, a Christian road sweeper from Lahore, was today sentenced to death by hanging for blasphemy and fined 200,000 rupees. He was arrested on 6 March 2013 after a friend accused him of making blasphemous remarks during an argument.
“This is a travesty of justice. There are serious concerns about the fairness of his trial, and an argument between two friends is not a basis for sending anyone to the gallows. Savan Masih must be released immediately and unconditionally,” said David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director.
The vague formulation of the blasphemy laws, along with inadequate investigation by authorities and intimidation by mobs and some religious groups, has promoted vigilantism across Pakistan, especially in the northeastern state of Punjab.