Death penalty for Muslim professor in Pakistan over blasphemy charges
Islamabad : A Pakistani anti-terrorism court awarded death penalty to a Muslim professor over blasphemy charges.
Identified as Junaid Hafeez has been accused of teaching students of making blasphemous Facebook posts; some of his students had complained against the professor. Insulting Islam's Prophet Mohammad carries a mandatory death penalty in Pakistan, which is about 95% Muslim.
Junaid's lawyer claimed that he has been framed by a group of students from an extremist Islamist party for his liberal and secular views. This month, US religious freedom commission had placed the professors on the list of global victims.
"He (Junaid Hafeez) shall be hanged by neck till his death subject to its confirmation by the honourable high court," a court order stated.
His defence lawyer Asad Jamal said he would appeal against the ruling in a higher court. "There can't be a fair trial in blasphemy cases in Pakistan," said Jamal, adding, "We have a spineless system. No one can stand up to a blasphemy charge."
The trial was held in a prison in the central Pakistan city of Multan under tight security due to threats to Hafeez's family and his lawyer.