LAHORE, Pakistan – A court in Pakistan on Saturday (July 13) sentenced a Christian to life in prison for alleged blasphemy in spite of the complainant retracting the accusation and admitting police pressured him into making it, his attorney said.
Attorney Javed Sahotra told Morning Star News by phone that prosecutors in the court in Toba Tek Singh District in Punjab Province produced no evidence that 29-year-old Sajjad Masih denigrated the prophet of Islam, and that Islamist mobs pressured the judge into the conviction and verdict. Masih was also ordered to pay a fine of 200,000 rupees (US$1,980).
Gojra police arrested Masih, of Pakpattan, Punjab Province, on accusations that he had sent text messages mocking Islam’s prophet, Muhammad, to Muslim clerics and others in Gojra on Dec. 11, 2011. Gojra is about a two-and-a-half hour drive from Pakpattan.
Sahotra said that Masih had evaded repeated attempts to arrest him after learning of the accusations against him, but that on Dec. 28, 2011, area Christian leaders accompanied him to the Gojra City Police Station so that he could record a statement.