Pakistani woman sentenced to death for claiming to be a prophet

A  woman, who had earlier claimed to be a prophet, has been awarded a death sentence by a Pakistani district court which rejected the argument of the accused lawyer that she was mentally unsound when she made the claim

Sep 28, 2021
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A  woman, who had earlier claimed to be a prophet, has been awarded a death sentence by a Pakistani district court which rejected the argument of the accused lawyer that she was mentally unsound when she made the claim. 

In 2013, Salma, a teacher by profession, had published and distributed papers in her area in Lahore district where she declared herself to be a prophet, according to a report in The Express Tribune newspaper. Following which the police registered a case against her when locals objected to the writings.  

Soon after his arrest, a medical board declared her unfit to stand trial and the proceeding remained suspended for almost two years. The trial resumed later when jail authorities declared her fit.

Almost eight years after the incident, a district court in Lahore this week pronounced judgment, pronouncing her guilty of blasphemy.  She was awarded a death sentence. The court didn’t accept the claim that she was mentally unsound at the time when the crime was committed.

Civil society activists and international rights bodies often call out Pakistan for the misuse of its infamous blasphemous laws where courts often pronounce judgments with little evidence. The European Union has even warned the government of punitive actions--such as withdrawing GSP status for its exports--over the misuse of the law. 

Religious minorities like Hindus, Christians, and Ahamadiya Muslims often become easy prey to abusive blasphemy laws. In June this year, a Pakistan court acquitted a Christian couple, who had spent eight years in prisons, for the charges of blasphemy. It turned out later that they were wrongly framed by their neighbors whose children had a fight with those of the accused couple. 

 (SAM)