Sawan Masih, a Christian roadsweeper from Lahore, was today sentenced to death for blasphemy.
Judges passed sentence in a private hearing due to the ‘sensitive nature’ of the case. They also fined him 200,000 Rupees (£1,200).
Sawan, a father-of-three from Joseph Colony in the Badami Bagh area of Lahore, was detained after he was accused of blasphemy following a row with a Muslim friend in March 2013 (Prayer Alert, March 25).
The accusations against him sparked two days of rioting in his Christian neighbourhood, during which a 3,000-strong mob set more than 200 homes alight. Hundreds of Christians across Pakistan took to the streets to demand greater protection in the aftermath of the riots.
Release partners are supporting Sawan and his family.
Meanwhile, the latest hearing in the appeal of Asia Bibi against a death sentence for ‘blasphemy’ took place yesterday at Lahore High Court. It lasted just ten minutes as the prosecution lawyer did not attend. The next hearing has been scheduled for April 14.
(Source: Release partners, Pakistan Christian Post, Express Tribune)
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- Ask God to be very close to Sawan, his wife Sobi and their family. Pray that they will be able to lodge an appeal quickly and that it will be successful. Ask God to provide for the family.
- Thank God for the courage and commitment of Release partners who support Christians such as Sawan accused of blasphemy. Ask Him to protect them and renew their stamina, despite today’s setback.
Christian religious rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong was detained again last Thursday, as he tried to visit clients in an illegal detention centre in China’s Heilongjiang province. He and another lawyer colleague were sentenced to 15 days’ detention on Monday, for ‘utilising cult activities to harm society’. Jiang spent 60 days in detention in 2011 (Prayer Alert, December 23, 2011). Pray that God will strengthen Jiang and keep him safe. (Source: China Aid)