UA 344/92 - Pakistan: prisoner of conscience / unfair trial / death penalty: Gul Masih
Gul Masih, a Christian, has been sentenced to death in Sargoda, Punjab Province, for blasphemy against the Prophet Mohammad. He is the first person to be sentenced since the death penalty became mandatory for this offence in mid-1991. AI considers him a prisoner of conscience, sentenced for his religious beliefs, and is urging the Government of Pakistan to drop all charges and release him unconditionally. Gul Masih was arrested in December 1991, a few days after he had refused to support a Muslim league candidate in local elections. A Muslim League activist with whom he reportedly quarrelled is said to have been encouraged by Muslim clergy to file a blasphemy case. Local human rights groups and Gul Masih deny that the dispute involved any blasphemous reference.