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Published On: Thu, Oct 20th, 2011

Mehram Wahocho, Pakistani Teacher Jailed Under Blasphemy Laws Now Faces Stiffer Penalties

A retired Pakistani schoolteacher has been jailed for three years on blasphemy charges after appealing against a one-month sentence handed down for allegedly insulting the Muslim prophet Mohammad.

Mehram Wahocho was also fined Rs5000 ($US57) in the appeal judgment, which found that the lower court sentence handed down two years ago was too lenient.

The decision was made after Wahocho’s accuser also appealed against the original sentence, asking for an increase in his punishment.

Pakistan’s Human Rights Commission chairman Asma Jahangir said the blasphemy laws were open to blatant abuse but the current “climate of fear” in Pakistan stifled all debate about reform.

“The change will come when the atmosphere in this country changes, but right now people are too fearful to speak up,” she said.

Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, introduced in 1986 under General Zia ul-Haq, have sparked international controversy since last November when Christian mother-of-five Asia Bibi became the first Pakistani woman to be sentenced to death for blasphemy.

UPDATES MADE BY ZACH JONES

Pakistan map Photo/CIA

 

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