An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan has handed the death penalty to a man, just because he had commented something on Facebook. The man was accused of committing blasphemy on Facebook, and now he has been sentenced to death. It may be recalled that Pakistan has intensified its crackdown on voices of dissent on social media platforms, and this death sentence is the latest step in that direction. This is probably the harshest punishment ever given for a crime like this. The man who was handed the death sentence is 30-year old Taimoor Raza. He was involved in a conversation on Facebook, but one of his comments against Prophet Muhammad was considered blasphemous and he was booked for it. Now, a court in Bahawalpur has handed him the death sentence.
Raza’s brother claims that their family is poor, but most members are literate. He said that they belong to the Shia Muslim community. He explained that his brother was in a general conversation on Facebook with a man named Muhammad Usman, who later turned out to be from the counter-terrorism department. Usman treated the comments posted by Raza as blasphemy and booked him for the same. Raza’s defense attorney said that the charges against Raza are completely baseless, and even then he has been handed the death penalty. Raza was charged under section 295C of the penal code, which relates to “derogatory acts against Prophet Muhammad”.