Concern over custodial torture in blasphemy cases.

LAHORE -- Human rights activists have expressed their concern over custodial torture inflicted on accused for confession and urged authorities to regard principles of criminal justice to ensure a fair trial and effectively implement Torture and Custodial Death (Prevention and Punishment) Bill, 2022.

They referred to the case of Imran Rehman, who was allegedly accused of posting blasphemous material in a WhatsApp group and was arrested by the Federal Investigation Agency.

A case was registered against Imran on Sept 14 under sections 11 of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016, 6, 7, 8, 9 of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 and 295-A, 295 B, 298, 109/34 of the Pakistan Penal Code.

He has been in jail for over two months and the authorities have severely tortured him, and forced to make him to confess an offense he has not committed. Voice for Justice Chairperson Joseph Jansen said that the existing blasphemy laws did not guarantee a fair trial and religious freedom, and the accuser enjoyed impunity despite presenting false evidence and false testimony.

However, neither any law was amended, nor was any measure introduced to prevent misuse of blasphemy laws except procedural changes.

He noted that Pakistan's blasphemy laws were incompatible with international human rights standards. 'The accuser who levels blasphemy allegations against any person is bound to prove malicious intent, but this stipulation is missing in legislation and is not taken into account during blasphemy trials,' he said.

Lawyer Abdul Hameed Rana said that Imran Rehman used to work at Lahore Metro...

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