A 22-year-old Pakistani Christian was sentenced to death for blasphemy on 30 May. Noman Masih was found guilty of blaspheming the Muslim prophet Mohammad because of pictures he was accused of distributing in 2019.
The incident began when Noman’s cousin, Sunny Waqas, was taken into custody on 29 June 2019. The police claimed to have received “secret information” proving that Sunny had printed blasphemous sketches of Mohammad and was carrying them in a bag to show others. While under interrogation, Sunny allegedly told the police he had received the images from Noman through WhatsApp.
Police claim that Noman was sitting in a public park at 3:30am on 1 July, showing images to people gathered around him when he was arrested. However, his father denies those allegations, stating that Noman was asleep in bed when police entered the home to arrest him.
All allegations against Sunny and Noman have been denied by their family members. Sunny was released from prison on 3 February of this year since the trial had not concluded within the mandatory two-year period. Noman’s family intends to appeal the conviction.
Between 1 January and 10 May 2023, at least 57 cases of alleged blasphemy have been reported in Pakistan, with four of the accused individuals having since been lynched or otherwise killed because of those allegations.