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Pakistani Court Issues Death Sentence For 'Blasphemous' Facebook Post

An antiterrorism court in Pakistan on June 10 sentenced a Shi’ite man to death for posting information on Facebook that the court deemed as blasphemous.

The sentence against 30-year-old Taimoor Raza was announced by Judge Shabbir Ahmed in Bahawalpur in eastern Punjab Province.

The court ruled that Raza posted derogatory content on Facebook in 2016 about Sunni Muslim religious leaders and the wives of the Prophet Muhammad.

Pakistan is a predominantly Sunni Muslim country. A rivalry between Shi’a and Sunni Muslims dates back to the seventh century when they had a disagreement about who should be the heir to Islam's Prophet Muhammad.

Under harsh blasphemy laws in Pakistan, the death sentence can be issued against anyone accused of insulting God, Islam, or religious personalities.

Human Rights Watch says Pakistan in 2016 arrested 10 Muslims and five non-Muslims on blasphemy charges.

Rights groups say Pakistan’s blasphemy laws often are abused in order to settle personal vendettas.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and

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