22 January 2018
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  • » 01/02/2018, 10.35


    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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    See also

    02/01/2018 15:19:00 PAKISTAN
    Activists applaud acquittal of Lahore intellectuals

    The families of former suspects consider the possibility of asking for compensation. The hate campaign "orchestrated by people involved in abductions". Donald Trump's tweet against financing terrorism. The blasphemy laws "continue to be abused".

    03/01/2018 18:01:00 PAKISTAN
    Blasphemy charges against acquitted bloggers are a political tool for partisan interests

    Last year Muslim radicals instigated a trial for blasphemy on social media. For the government, using false cases is a “dangerous game”. Some changes to the Penal Code are proposed.

    19/01/2017 13:20:00 PAKISTAN
    Pakistan, Christians and Muslims call for the release of the disappeared activists and intellectuals (Photos)

    The Commission on Human Rights organizes a seminar. Relatives of the abducted intellectuals reject the accusations of blasphemy, brought forward by Islamic radicals. "It's just a move to lock them up behind bars after their eventual release."


    01/02/2017 13:15:00 PAKISTAN
    Missing intellectuals and activists risk death penalty, charged with "blasphemy on social networks."

    The only one to have reappeared is Professor Salman Haider; the other four bloggers are missing for nearly a month. The complaint lodged by Shuhada Foundation. Even if they are acquitted, "their lives will still be miserable."


    15/03/2017 14:44:00 PAKISTAN
    Pakistani Catholics: Social media ban "is not the solution" to online blasphemy

    Yesterday, the National Assembly has ordered the closure of websites that contain insults against the prophet. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif promised to bring the perpetrators to justice. The announcement could also affect Radio Veritas. Secretary of the Commission for the Conference of Social Communication of the Bishops: "The mistake of a few should not compromise the good of many."

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