Woman sentenced to death for claiming to be prophet

LAHORE: A sessions court in Lahore has awarded a Muslim woman the death penalty for blasphemy under the 295C section of the country’s penal code.

According to the details, a prayer leader in Nishtar Colony registered a case in 2013 against the school principal, Salma Tanveer, after they say she published and distributed pamphlets denying the finality of the prophethood and claiming her own prophethood.

She was arrested and charged with blasphemy. Her lawyer appealed that she was not in sound mind, a fact the medical board agreed with saying she was not fit for trial.

However, two years later, with no movement in the trial, the jail authorities wrote to the board saying that after another examination, she was declared fit for trial.

When the trial began, the defence argued she was not of sound mind while the prosecution said that the accused was allowed to run her school during the period, travel and also given the right of property dealing with her husband adopting all due process.

After hearing both sides, Additional District & Sessions Judge Mansoor Ahmad Qureshi found the woman guilty and said her defence counsel failed to prove that she was of unsound mind.

According to the verdict: “It is proved beyond reasonable doubt that accused Salma Tanveer wrote and distributed the writings which are derogatory in respect of Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and she failed to prove that her case falls in exception provided by section 84 of PPC.”

Section 84 deals with offences committed by a person of unsound mind.

Blasphemy remains a divisive issue in Pakistan and there are reports the charge is misused to settle personal scores.

Around least 77 people have died around accusations of blasphemy which also includes families of lawyers and judges have been targets.

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