Death is the traditional penalty for blasphemy, as well as the current penalty in Pakistani law. Such laws are frequently used against Christians and other religious minorities there — which is why State ought to make their repeal the price of friendship with the United States. From AP, “Militants threaten Christian man in Pakistan after his acquittal in blasphemy case,” with thanks to Susan:
Anwar Masih, 28, received the threats from Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, in the eastern city of Lahore, said Joseph Francis, coordinator with the Center for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement, a Christian rights group.
Last month a court exonerated Masih of the charge that he had insulted Islam and ordered the man to be freed, Francis said.
Masih had been arrested in July after a Christian convert to Islam allegedly reported to police that Masih insulted his Islamic beard.
On Thursday, Francis said Masih was in hiding and his life was in danger.
“The people from the militant organization frequently visit his family and demand that he (Masih) be handed over to them,” he said.
Under Pakistan’s harsh blasphemy laws, insulting Islam or its prophet Muhammad is an offense and the offender can be punished by death.
Local and international human right groups and Christian right activists in Pakistan have demanded that the country’s blasphemy laws be scrapped. They say the laws have been abused to prosecute Christians, who are a minority in Pakistan.
Hundreds of people are believed to be in jail in Pakistan under the blasphemy laws, most of them Christians.