The trial court of Lahore in Pakistan has sentenced Savan Masih, a Catholic, to death for blasphemy, reports The Tablet.
Following the blasphemy allegation against Mr Masih in March last year, thousands of Muslims - urged on by clerics - went on a rampage in the Joseph Colony, Lahore’s Christian district, setting on fire and damaging 178 houses, 18 shops and two churches.
After the decision was handed down last week, Joseph Francis - director of CLAAS (the Centre for Legal Aid Assistance-Settlement) - said in a press statement on Monday, that the trial was based on a false accusation.
CLAAS said that Mr Masih was framed 'in a false case of insulting the Prophet Muhammad during the course of conversation with a Muslim friend' at the Joseph Colony concerning a property dispute.
Mr Masih appealed against his conviction on Tuesday, saying that the charges were fabricated to accelerate the eviction of Christians from the area.
The sentence evoked strong protests the next day from opposition parties in the National Assembly, who decried the persecution of minority communities on trumped-up blasphemy charges.
FULL STORY Pakistani Catholic sentenced to death on blasphemy charge (The Tablet)