A Pakistani Christian man with mental health issues has been sentenced to life imprisonment for blasphemy.
In June 2015 Yaqoob Bashir, 25, was accused of burning a booklet that carried Quranic verses.
According to reports he had been receiving treatment at a mental health facility in Hyderabad before the accusation was made.
Last month the Session and District Court of Mirpurkhas sentenced him to life imprisonment under blasphemy charges after he was found guilty of using derogatory language against the prophet Muhammad.
He was cleared of desecrating the Quran.
During Bashir’s three years in jail before conviction, other inmates attacked him on several occasions, and in June this year, he was brutally beaten by fellow inmates for praying in their shared jail cell.
He also had to appeals for bail rejected.
Bashir also reportedly suffered from serious illnesses due to the poor conditions in jail and a lack of adequate medical care.
Furthermore, his family have been threatened by extremists.
“The influence of a given religion in a nation ought never to mean that citizens of another religion can be subject to discrimination in social life or, even worse, that violence against them can be tolerated.”...
- Pope Emeritus Benedict
“There is a very clear sense that people are nervous about the misuse of the blasphemy law, as a tool of politics or “…a mob thing […] ” he added, flanked by two Pakistani bishops. He earlier told reporters: “Equality under the law is important…”...
- Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury
“The law for punishing blasphemy against the Prophet (sws) that is invoked in Pakistan has no foundation in the Qur'ān or Hadith.”...
- Javed Ahmad Ghamidi, Renowned Quranic scholar & Islamic modernist theologist
“The problem is not so much the idea of a law against blasphemy, as about a law whose penalty is so severe and whose practice gives so much scope for allowing people to settle private scores.” ...
- Dr Rowan Williams, 104th Archbishop of Canterbury