A Muslim man has been sentenced to death by an anti-terrorism court in Pakistan for posting blasphemous material in a messaging group, according to an order seen by AFP.
Syed Muhammad Zeeshan was sentenced to hang Friday by a court in Peshawar, in the northwest of the country, under the anti-terrorism law.
The accused, who resides in Mardan, was also sentenced to 23 years in prison and fined 1,200,000 rupees ($4,300) under the Electronic Crimes Prevention Act.
He has the right to appeal.
The case arose after Muhammad Saeed, a resident of Talagang city in Punjab province, filed a complaint with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) two years ago, accusing Syed Zeeshan of posting blasphemous content in a WhatsApp group, his lawyer told AFP.
The FIA then seized the mobile phone and its analysis proved "
", added the lawyer.
Blasphemy is an extremely sensitive subject in Pakistan.
Anyone accused of insulting Islam faces the death penalty, although this sentence has never been imposed so far for such cases.
Although many cases involve Muslims accusing other Muslims, rights advocates complain that this controversial legislation is often used for personal revenge, mainly against Christian minorities.
According to the National Commission for Justice and Peace, a human rights and legal aid group in Pakistan, 774 Muslims and 760 members of various minority religious groups have been charged with blasphemy over the past 20 years.