01/02/2018, 10.35
PAKISTAN
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Islamabad, abducted intellectuals acquitted of blasphemy

Bloggers and activists have all fled abroad. Public pressure favours their acquittal. One activist spoke of torture. Demands for an investigation against those who spread "false propaganda".

Islamabad (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Islamabad High Court has acquitted the five intellectual activists kidnapped and then reappeared last year in Pakistan of the charge of blasphemy because "the fact does not exist".

The activists, including a well-known university professor who is critical of the government, are all abroad, fleeing to escape the retribution of extremists who accused them of contempt of the Prophet Muhammad. Officials of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), who had opened the case, declared before the judge that they had found no clear evidence to show the guilt of the suspects.

Asad Tariq, the defense lawyer, said that the court rejected all the charges and said that "no one should be investigated according to the false accusation of blasphemy". In Pakistan, the case of the bloggers and intellectuals kidnapped in January 2017 has caused such a sensation that their release has been made possible thanks to the pressure of civil society.

Within a week last year Samar Abbas, president of the Civil Progressive Alliance Pakistan (CPAP); Salman Haider, well known poet and professor at the Fatima Jinnah Women's University in Rawalpindi; Ahmad Waqas Goraya and Aasim Saeed, cousins ​​and bloggers; Ahmed Raza Naseer, polio patient, blogger and activist all disappeared between Lahore and the capital.

Immediately, activists and international organizations have charged the mysterious disappearances to the security forces, in an attempt to silence voices critical of the government and spread a climate of terror among the population. Later the violent campaign carried out on radio and television channels by Islamic extremists led to the registration of the case for "blasphemy on social networks".

After his release, the blogger Goraya fled to Holland and was the only one to have broken the silence on the detention. On that occasion he spoke openly about torture by the army military and reiterated: "I have nothing against Pakistan. Nothing against Islam. I am critical of politics because I would like to see a better Pakistan ". Now, following the decision of the judges in Islamabad, he asks the court "to open an investigation against those who have tried to involve bloggers in accusations of contempt of the prophet and have conducted a false propaganda against us".

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