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Aneeqa Ateeq sentenced to death over blasphemous WhatsApp status

Islamabad: A Muslim woman was sentenced to death in Pakistan on Wednesday (Jan 19) after being convicted of sending a blasphemous text message and caricatures of Prophet Muhammad via WhatsApp, a court said.

Blasphemy is a hugely sensitive issue in Muslim-majority Pakistan, and laws prohibiting it can carry a potential death sentence – although it has never been enforced for the crime.

Aneeqa Ateeq, 26, was arrested in May 2020 and charged with posting “blasphemous material” as her WhatsApp status, according to a summary issued by the court.

When a friend urged her to change it, she instead forwarded the material to him, it said.

Caricatures of the Prophet are forbidden by Islam.

The sentence was announced in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, with the court ordering her to be “hanged by her neck till she is dead”.

She was also given a 20-year jail sentence.

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