Associated Press, Apr. 26, 2003
MULTAN, Pakistan (April 26, 9:58 p.m. ADT) – A court in Pakistan has sentenced a Christian to life in prison for blasphemy, police officials said Sunday.
Ranjah Maseih was convicted Saturday in a court in Faisalabad, 170 miles northeast of Multan, in Pakistan’s eastern Punjab province, police official Nazir Ahmed said.
The defendant was arrested on May 8, 1998, after he allegedly damaged a neon sign depicting a verse from the Quran, the Muslim holy book, at a rally to mourn the death of a Catholic clergymen.
The maximum penalty for Pakistan’s blasphemy is death. Maseih’s attorney Khalil Sindhu said he would appeal the conviction and sentence.
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International and Pakistani human rights groups say the nation’s blasphemy laws are easily abused and unfair because the accused have the burden to prove their innocence.
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