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Pakistan Arrests Christian Teenager On Blasphemy Charges

FILE: Pakistani Christians protest in the eastern city of Lahore
FILE: Pakistani Christians protest in the eastern city of Lahore

Pakistani police say they have arrested a Christian teenager on blasphemy charges in the eastern province of Punjab.

Local police official Pervez Iqbal said on August 20 that 18-year-old Asif Massih is accused of burning pages of the Koran.

The incident allegedly took place on August 12 near the town of Wazirabad.

Under blasphemy laws in Pakistan, people convicted of insulting God, Islam, or religious figures can be sentenced to death.

Pakistan arrested 10 Muslims and five non-Muslims on blasphemy charges in 2016, according to Human Rights Watch.

Rights groups say Pakistan’s blasphemy laws often are abused in order to settle personal vendettas.

In June, a court in Punjab Province sentenced a 30-year-old Shi’ite Muslim man to death for posting information on Facebook deemed as blasphemous.

In April, a university student in the northern city of Mardan was killed by a mob after being accused of posting “blasphemous content” on social media. Police say their investigation found that the accusation was false.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP

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