A Pakistani anti-terrorism court sentenced a man to death Saturday for allegedly posting content on Facebook that insulted Islam.
Taimoor Raza was originally arrested last year after he unsuspectingly engaged in a debate over the religion with a counter-terrorism agent, according to The Guardian.
“My brother indulged in a sectarian debate on Facebook with a person, who we later come to know, was a [counter-terrorism department] official with the name of Muhammad Usman,” Waseem Abbas told The Guardian.
The 30-year-old is being punished under the country’s severe anti-blasphemy laws, which forbids any criticism of the prophet Muhammad and the faith in general.
Raza’s legal representation argues that Pakistani authorities are inappropriately conflating two unrelated portions of the law to exact the maximum penalty.
Several other people have been charged for blasphemy in Pakistan and nearby countries.
A British DJ who played a show in Tunisia was sentenced to a year in jail by the government after playing a dance remix to a Muslim prayer. The performer was charged in April with offending public morality and public indecency, but was able to flee the country before attending the trial. (RELATED: This Christian Got His Throat Slit For Selling Sweet, Godly Booze [VIDEO])
Under the Pakistani blasphemy law, Shaan Taseer, a business magnate, was charged with a hate crime in January because he posted a Christmas greeting video on Facebook.
Thailand sentenced a man to 35 years in prison Friday for posting critical and purportedly disrespectful content about the country’s royal family on Facebook. A military court in the country’s capital convicted the 33-year-old man, identified only as Wichai, of 10 counts of lèse-majesté, the act of committing treason or insulting a monarch or ruler. Journalists were reportedly not permitted within the confines of the tribunal. (RELATED: Facebook Ordered To Delete ‘Hate Speech’ After Country’s Green Party Leader Is Insulted)
While Raza is certainly not the first to be disciplined under the blasphemy rules, his judgement is believed to be one of the harshest ever.
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