Home Latest News Blasphemy Convict Appeals Death Sentence

Blasphemy Convict Appeals Death Sentence

by AFP
Munir uz Zaman—AFP

Munir uz Zaman—AFP

Lawyer for 69-year-old dual national says court failed to consider evidence of mental illness.

Lawyers for an elderly Briton sentenced to death 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 Rawalpindi court last week for writing letters claiming to be a prophet. 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 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 defense has questioned that the court did not follow safeguards available in the law to the defendant who is suffering from mental illness,” said the lawyer. “In addition the overwhelming evidence of his mental illness from U.K. 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. Asghar’s family has also claimed the allegations against him stem from a property dispute with one of his tenants.

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