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Blasphemy convict found dead in Pakistani jail

Catholic World News - March 15, 2011

Christian groups in Pakistan are demanding a full explanation for the sudden death of a Christian man who was serving a life prison term after being convicted of blasphemy.

Qamar David, who was sentenced in February 2010 to life imprisonment, died in a Karachi jail on March 15. Officials say that he suffered a fatal heart attack. Christians are suspicious of that explanation, conscious that Islamic militants have frequently pledged to kill those accused of blasphemy.

The Justice and Peace commission of the Pakistani bishops’ conference said that the sudden death of David—a 56-year-old man with 4 children—“raises doubts that he might have fallen prey to active hate campaign going on in the country on this issue by extremist groups.”

In Pakistan, the moment one is charged under the draconian blasphemy law, his life is in jeopardy. Pakistani Christians charged with blasphemy have been beaten to death by fellow inmates, or even shot while being taken to court for trial.

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