A Christian couple has been sentenced to death in Pakistan after being accused of sending a text message to a local Muslim leader insulting the prophet Mohammed, their lawyer and prosecutors say.
The couple has denied the charges and said they would appeal the sentence. Their lawyer Nadeem Hassan told the BBC that he believes the trial was conducted unfairly.
Defense attorney Hassan told the French news agency AFP that Judge Mian Amir Habib handed the death sentence to Shafqat Emmanuel and Shagufta Kausar on Friday, finding them guilty of sending a blasphemous text message to the imam of their local mosque.
The imam, Maulvi Mohammad Hussain, of the local mosque in Gojra – a town with a history of violence against Christians – filed the complaint against them last July, accusing them of sending him the text message which he characterized as insulting to the Prophet Mohammed.
According to AFP, the imam said the husband sent the message from his wife’s cellphone. However, the couple’s lawyer said the message was sent from a phone that his clients had lost before July.