Woman sentenced to death due to freedom of speech

by spicyray

I

n yet another troubling story, a Pakistani woman was sentenced to death due to her conviction of “blasphemy” after sharing images considered obscene about Islam’s Prophet Muhammad and one of his wives.

The photo was sent through WhatsApp. The woman, Aneeqa Ateeq, 26, told the court that her former friend Hasnat Farooq had knowingly set her up by initiating a conversation about religion on WhatsApp. Ateeq’s claim seems to suggest Hasnat was becoming too friendly toward her. She told the court that the pair had met on a popular online multiplayer game.

“So I feel that he intentionally dragged into this topic for revenge. That’s why he got registered [sic] a case against me, and during [WhatsApp] chat he collected everything that went against me,” Ateeq said in a statement to the court.

However, Farooq told the court that Ateeq willingly sent the image via WhatsApp, and when he confronted her, she refused to remove it. Ateeq was ordered to death by a trial court in the northern Pakistani city of Rawalpindi. Pakistan has stick rules regarding blasphemy laws. And when those laws are violated, the conviction often results in the death penalty for insulting the Prophet Muhammad.

“The blasphemous material which was shared/installed by the female accused on her status [on WhatsApp messaging platform] and the messages as well as caricatures which were sent to the complainant are totally unbearable and not tolerable for a Muslim,” Judge Adnan Mushtaq wrote in his verdict in the case.

Ateeq’s death sentence is subject to confirmation by the Lahore High Court, a forum before which she also has the right of appeal.

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