Pakistan Woman Sentenced To Death Over ‘Blasphemous’ WhatsApp Activity
Aneeqa Ateeq, 26, was found guilty and sentenced to death over blasphemous WhatsApp activity by a court in Rawalpindi on Wednesday.
According to the charge sheet, Ateeq, 26, met her accuser, a fellow Pakistani, through a mobile gaming app in 2019 and the two began conversing over WhatsApp.
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He accused her of sending blasphemous cartoons of the Prophet, making comments about “holy personages” on WhatsApp, and transmitting blasphemous material to other accounts using her Facebook account. According to the charge sheet, she “deliberately and willfully defiles righteous personalities and insults Muslim religious beliefs.”
Ateeq, who claims to be a practising Muslim, has denied all of the allegations. Ateeq testified in court that she believes the complainant purposefully drew her into a theological debate in order to gather evidence and exact “revenge” after she declined to be friendly with him.
However, the court found her guilty and sentenced her to be executed after giving her a 20-year sentence.
Ateeq’s lawyer Syeda Rashida Zainab said: “I can’t comment on the judgment as the issue is very sensitive.”
Blasphemy trials in Pakistan are extremely deadly, with the accused frequently being killed by vigilantes before the courts reach a decision on their cases, and judges seldom acquit the accused, fearing the consequences, and are sometimes forced into reaching guilty judgments.
Pakistan has lately requested assistance from Facebook and Twitter in identifying people suspected of blasphemy so that they can be prosecuted or extradited.
While the laws have primarily targeted minorities like Christians and Hindus, Pakistani Muslims, have also been charged with blasphemy. Cases are frequently resolved quickly in a closed courtroom, away from public scrutiny.
In Pakistan, the topic of blasphemy is still quite contentious. After being accused of committing blasphemy by removing religious posters from the factory walls, a Sri Lankan national working at a factory in Pakistan was beaten to death and his body was set alight by a crowd of hundreds of people last month.