Man Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison For Blasphemy on Social Media

In a first in Pakistan as per the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), a special court for cybercrime felonies sentenced a man to five-years of rigorous jail time for posting blasphemous content on social media.

Sajid Ali was indicted for posting “sacrilegious, blasphemous and derogatory material against Hazrat Umar (R.A)” on Facebook in 2017. Originally, the police of Bahawalnagar’s Chishtian tehsil filed a case which was later handed over to the FIA Cyber Crime Circle Lahore due to jurisdiction limitations.

The court handed the verdict to the suspect under section 11 of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016 and 298-A of the Pakistan Penal Code which deals with the use of degrading statements against holy personalities of Islam. Apart from the jail term, a fine of Rs. 20,000 was imposed on the suspect as well.

The court remarked that the government should conduct an awareness campaign to inform citizens about the cybercrime laws as they were recent.

The previous government had implemented the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016 that forbids actions such as sending text messages that criticize religion, government actions and the armed forces.

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