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LAHORE, May 30: An additional district and sessions judge, in a video trial, awarded death sentence and a fine of Rs100,000 to a blasphemy accused on Wednesday.

Defence counsel Pervaiz Aslam Chaudhry said the trial at prison had been arranged due to security reasons, adding that all evidence in the case was also recorded through a video facility.

During the evidence recording, the accused would remain in the jail to appear on a screen installed as part of the video trial in the conference room of the Lahore district and sessions court. It was the first ever video trial in a blasphemy case.

Convict Younis Masih of Chungi Amar Sadhu had been charged with using derogatory remarks against Prophet Mohammad (Peace be upon him). However, the lawyer claimed the case against his client was concocted.

The lawyer said the Christian community had arranged a spiritual gathering in Chungi Amar Sadhu in 2005 when neighbour Abdul Aziz, also a complainant in the case, objected to it. It turned into an exchange of harsh words in which the complainant alleged that the accused had used derogatory remarks.

The lawyer said that the case had not been investigated at a proper forum. He contended that the offence required investigation by an officer not below the rank of SP under section 156-A of the CrPC. But, he claimed, a sub-inspector had investigated the case. Mr Chaudhry said he would appeal against the decision.

The court also directed the police to provide security to the lawyer who had been receiving threats during the trial.

TORTURE VICTIM: The Lahore High Court on Wednesday ordered exhumation of the body of a man who was tortured to death by police.

The court directed the medical superintendent of Sargodha DHQ Hospital to constitute a board for autopsy. It also ordered registration of a case if torture was confirmed.

The court issued these directions on the petition of Nazir who alleged that police tortured his brother Jahangir to death.

The court set aside the orders of the additional district and sessions judge and special judicial magistrate who turned down the applications of the petitioner.

The petitioner contended that Bhalwal SHO Khalid Mahmood Gondal and SI Sanawar Khan arrested his brother in a murder case on Oct 10, 2006. Later, they subjected him to severe torture as a result of which he died on Oct 21.

He submitted that the ASJ and judicial magistrate turned down his applications in the light of fake reports submitted by the police.