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25-year-old mentally disabled Pakistani Christian gets life in prison over blasphemy charges

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A 25-year-old Pakistani Christian gets life in prison sentence over blasphemy charges. On September 28, 2018 a Session and District court in Mirpur Khas handed life imprisonment sentence to Yaqoob Bashir. Yaqoob who is also mentally disabled was convicted of blasphemy under 295-C of Pakistan Penal Code.

Blasphemy cases in Pakistan

Back in June 2015, the lad was accused of committing blasphemy. He was accused of burning Quranic verses. Consequently, an FIR number 41/15 was lodged against Yaqoob who was booked by the police under 295-B and C on June 5, 2015. The accused was at that time receiving medical treatment for his mental illness prior to this incident. Yaqoob remained behind the bars for three years before finally the court convicted him under 295-C.

Also Read: Pakistani newspaper apologizes over blasphemous caricature, after Christians protested against it

The court dropped 295-B against him, however, Yaqoob’s defense counsel is determined to challenge the Sessions and District court ruling in Hyderabad High Court. Section 295-C slaps punishment to the convicts for using derogatory language against Prophet Muhammad.

Prior to this verdict, Yaqoob’s bail petitions were turned down by local courts twice. Family of Yaqoob Bashir reports that during the court trials they have been harassed and intimidated by the radical groups. “It’s unbearable and unjust. My son is innocent. He did not insult or do blasphemy. He does not care much of these issues as his mind works differently than that of a normal person’s,” International Christian Concern quoted Yaqoob Bashir’s mother.

“I am illiterate and don’t know much about laws and policies, however, I just want justice for my son and to see him at home as soon as possible,” his mother was quoted.