LAHORE: A court sentenced a Christian man to death for blasphemy on Thursday, his lawyer said, over an incident that triggered a riot here.
Sawan Masih was convicted of committing blasphemy during the course of a conversation with a Muslim friend in the Joseph Colony neighbourhood in March last year.
More than 3,000 people rampaged through Joseph Colony, torching some 100 Christian homes, after the allegations against Masih emerged.
Naeem Shakir, one of Masih’s lawyers, said: “The judge has announced the death sentence for Sawan Masih. We will appeal the sentence in the Lahore High Court.”
Verdict and sentence were announced inside the jail where Masih was held, Shakir said.
The country has had a de facto moratorium on civilian hangings since 2008. Only one person has been executed since then, a soldier convicted by court martial.
Masih has maintained his innocence and argued the real reason for the blasphemy allegation was a property dispute between him and his friend.
No one was killed in the rampage through Joseph Colony last year but the incident highlighted the sensitivity of blasphemy in Pakistan. —AFP