Pakistani Muslim jailed for burning Quran?
By Rizwan Khatik - Fri Mar 16, 10:21 am
MUZAFFARABAD: A court on Tuesday jailed a 42-year-old man for life for burning the holy Quran, officials said.
Aseem Ahmed, a father of three, was arrested last June on charges of desecrating the holy Quran in Lasda village in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, about 40 kilometres east of the capital, Muzaffarabad. Ahmed said he would appeal the sentence, professing his innocence and saying he had no idea that a copy of the holy Quran was among a pile of books he set alight.
“One day I came home and got angry at seeing the books scattered. I collected them up and burnt them,” he said.
“We heard up to 15 witnesses. His mother also testified against the accused and we have given him life imprisonment,” Judge Ameerullah Khan said.
Pakistan introduced its anti-blasphemy law in 1986 and it was adopted by Pakistan-occupied Kashmir in 1993.
In late 2010, a Pakistani court sentenced a Christian mother to death for blasphemy. Her case was taken up by liberal politician Salman Taseer, who was shot dead in January 2011 over his calls to reform the blasphemy law.
Last month, reports that Americans set fire to Qurans on an American base in neighbouring Afghanistan sparked riots that killed at least 40 people.