Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


UK man appeals blasphemy death sentence

31 January 2014, 19:09

Islamabad - Lawyers for an elderly Briton sentenced to death in Pakistan for blasphemy filed an appeal on Friday, saying the court had failed to consider "overwhelming" evidence of his mental illness.

Mohammad Asghar, a British-Pakistani with dual nationality, was sentenced by a court in Rawalpindi, near the capital Islamabad, last week for writing letters claiming to be a prophet of Islam.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has said he is "deeply concerned" about Asghar, who was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in Britain in 2010, and officials have raised the matter with the Pakistani authorities.

A lawyer for the 69-year-old said an appeal had been lodged with the Lahore high court on Friday against both the conviction and death sentence.

"In the appeal the defence has questioned that the court did not follow safeguards available in the law to the defendant who is suffering from mental illness", the lawyer told AFP.

"In addition the overwhelming evidence of his mental illness from UK was not considered by the court despite repeated requests."

The lawyer spoke on condition of anonymity because defending blasphemy cases in Pakistan can bring the risk of reprisal attacks.

Blasphemy is an extremely sensitive issue in a country where 97% of the population is Muslim and insulting the Prophet Mohammed can carry the death penalty.

Pakistan's tough blasphemy laws have attracted criticism from rights groups, who say they are frequently abused to settle personal scores.

Asghar's family say the allegations against him stem from a property dispute with one of his tenants.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...