Muslim-majority Pakistan is one of the Islamic nations where blasphemy against Muhammad is punishable by death.
Now two Christian brothers there are facing that extreme sentence even though there’s no evidence they were responsible for online postings that drew the ire of the Pakistani judiciary, according to a report from the American Center for Law and Justice.
The ACLJ said the convictions, and sentences, for brothers Amoon Ayub and Qaiser Ayub, recently were affirmed by the Lahore High Court, Rawalpindi Bench.
Now an appeal has been filed at the Supreme Court of Pakistan regarding their conviction and sentences to be killed by hanging.
The charges against the Ayub brothers were initially filed in June 2011 when a Muslim man came across a blog that contained offensive material about Islam. The blog also had the name, phone number, email address, and the office address of the alleged author. The name listed was Qaiser Ayub, the older of the two brothers. The office address and the phone number listed belonged to Amoon, the younger brother and our Pakistani affiliate’s client, the ACLJ said.
Police charged both brothers, and they’ve both been under arrest in behind bars for years.
The trial court’s conviction was based on the erroneous idea that the fact the brothers’ contact was on the site meant they posted it.
But anyone can create a website and post someone else’s information.
The Lahore court’s decision, the ruling that now is under appeal, claimed a Cyber Crimes Report linked the site to a landline telephone and email address. But what the report actually said was that the brother’s information was on the website.
“No one contests the fact that the Ayub brothers’ name, address, and phone number appeared on the website. But that does not prove they are the ones who posted that information or the blasphemous material,” the ACLJ said.
“Having already spent about eight years in prison, the Ayub brothers will now have to wait for the Supreme Court to schedule a hearing for arguments. This could take several more years,” the ACLJ said.
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