British man who claimed to be prophet Mohammed, sentenced to death in Pakistan

Human rights campaigners are calling for the immediate release of a British man sentenced to death under Pakistan's blasphemy laws.

Mohammad Asghar, a British national of Pakistani origin,was arrested in 2010 in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, near Islamabad, after writing letters to various officials claiming to be a prophet.

A judge convicted and sentenced him last Thursday following a trial. But a lawyer who defended Mr Asghar said, the 65-year-old has mental health illness and the case was really a property dispute.

Asghar claimed to be a prophet even inside the court. He confessed it in front of the judge.

The court also ordered Asghar to pay a fine of one million Pakistani rupees ($10,000)

Blasphemy is an extremely sensitive issue in Pakistan, where 97 per cent of the population is Muslim, and insulting the Prophet Mohammed can carry the death penalty.

Reports say people in the country, accused of blasphemy have been attacked and killed by angry vigilante mobs. Two prominent politicians who criticized the blasphemy law were murdered in recent years. One of the politicians was shot by his own bodyguard, who then attracted adoring crowds.

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