By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries
LAHORE, PAKISTAN (ANS) -- On April 1, 2014 Sawan Masih launched an appeal against the death sentence he was given under Pakistan's blasphemy law on March 27.
"Sawan was sentenced by additional district and sessions judge Lahore Chaudhry Ghulam Mustafa for allegedly insulting the Prophet Muhammad during a conversation with a Muslim friend in Lahore's Joseph Colony last March," said Nasir Saeed, the UK director of Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS).
"Days after the decision CLAAS submitted an appeal to Lahore High Court, raising serious questions about the police investigation and prosecution."
He said that Mr. Naeem Shakir, Mr. Tahir Bashir and Mr. Nasir Anjum will represent Sawan Masih behalf of CLAAS in the criminal appeal.
"The legal team prepared the challenge within two days, despite having a time limit of up to seven days," said Mr. Saeed. "Savan signed a Power of Attorney in the company of his wife Sobia Bibi and Lawyer Mr. Tahir Bashir in the jail."
Sawan Masih was convicted of insulting the prophet Muhammad last March during a conversation with his Muslim friend. He was accused of blasphemy for allegedly saying "Jesus is true, he is t he son of the God. He will come to save me while Muslims' Prophet (PBUH) is fake".
Savan Masih denied the charges against him asserting that he had said nothing in respect of the prophet Mohammad and that false accusations were made against him because of a property dispute. Sawan Masih has been in jail since his arrest in March last year.
Over 178 Christian homes were burnt down by a Muslim mob following the allegations being made against Sawan. He has always denied the charges against him, stating that they have been made up in a bid to grab his land.
Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS) is an interdenominational organization working for Christians who are being persecuted because of their faith in Pakistan. CLAAS works for religious freedom, to stop persecution of Christians in Pakistan because of blasphemy and other discriminatory laws, raise awareness, disseminate information and highlight the plight of Christians on an internation al level. CLAAS provides free legal aid to victims of religious intolerance in Pakistan, as well as shelter and financial support for the victims and their families.