Pakistani Christian man given death penalty for posting ‘hateful content’ against Muslims

Pakistani Christian man given death penalty for posting ‘hateful content’ against Muslims

A Pakistani court has sentenced a Christian man to death for posting defaced pages of the Quran on TikTok last year.

A mob attacked Christians in eastern Punjab province, burning their homes and churches, after two Christian men were accused of desecrating the Quran last year. The men were arrested for allegedly possessing pages of the Muslim scripture tainted with derogatory remarks scribbled in red.

Ehsan Shan wasn’t involved in the desecration but was accused of reposting the defaced pages on his TikTok account, his lawyer Khurram Shahzad told The Associated Press on Monday.

Shan is set to appeal the death sentence handed down on Saturday by a court in the city of Sahiwal in Punjab, the lawyer said.

Amir Farooq, the police officer who arrested Shan, said he shared “hateful content at a sensitive time when authorities were already struggling to contain the violence”.

Blasphemy is punishable by death in Pakistan.

Critics argue that the blasphemy laws are often misused to target religious minorities.

Although blasphemy convictions are common in Pakistan, no one has ever been executed.

Most convictions are thrown out on appeal by higher courts but mobs have in the past lynched suspects before they could be put on trial.

In the wake of last year’s attack on Christians in Punjab, the local government launched a probe while police arrested over 100 people. But none of the suspected attackers have been convicted so far even though local media at the time described it as one of the deadliest attacks on the minority community in the country.

The nearly 100 Christians who lost their homes in the attack were each promised 2m rupees (£5,680) in compensation but it was not known if they had been paid yet.

Additional reporting by agencies.