A Christian man has been sentenced to death on blasphemy charges by a court in eastern Pakistan after a close friend accused him of sharing anti-Islamic material, the defendant’s lawyer said on Friday.

Nadeem James was charged with blasphemy over a phone text, even though he is illiterate, according to Morning Star News.

Nadeem’s friend, Yasir Bashir, complained to police that he received a poem via WhatsApp instant messaging that was derogatory towards Muhammad and other revered Islamic figures. 

“The trial was held inside the prison due to security reasons,” James’ attorney Riaz Anjum said, adding that they will challenge the conviction in the high court.

The lawyer asserted that Bashir asserted the charge after becoming annoyed with James’ alleged affair with a Muslim woman. James, a Roman Catholic, had separated from his wife, Anjum said.

“Bashir used to meet James almost every day, and we believe that it was then that hemisused the latter’s phone for forwarding the blasphemous poem to himself,” Anjum said.

Blasphemy is a criminal offence in Muslim-majority Pakistan, and insults against the Prophet Mohammad are punishable by death. Most cases are filed against members of minority communities.


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