Christian in Pakistan sentenced to death for blasphemy

A Pakistani court sentenced a Christian man to death on charges of blasphemy.

A court in Lahore charged that Asif Pervaiz, 37, included insulting remarks about Muhammad in a text message sent to his supervisor at the garment factory where he had worked.

Pervaiz was also sentenced to a fine of 50,000 Pakistani rupees ($300), and three years’ imprisonment.

His lawyer told Reuters he would appeal the sentence. The lawyer has added that Pervaiz said he was accused of blasphemy only after refusing to convert to Islam.

Pervaiz’ trial began in 2013.

Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are reportedly used to settle scores or to persecute religious minorities; while non-Muslims constitute only 3 percent of the Pakistani population, 14 percent of blasphemy cases have been levied against them.

Many of those accused of blasphemy are murdered, and advocates of changing the law are also targeted by violence.

More than 40 people are serving a life sentence or face execution for blasphemy in the country.