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To: Prime Minister David Cameron
Save Mohammad Asghar from execution for blasphemy
Please intervene with the Pakistani government and demand the release of Mohammad Asghar, an elderly British man with severe mental health problems who has been sentenced to death for blasphemy.
Why is this important?
Mohammad Asghar is a British grandfather who suffers from a serious mental illness. He is currently facing the death penalty in Pakistan on blasphemy charges. Last week, a policeman – one of the people tasked with ensuring Mr Asghar’s safety – burst into his cell and shot him.
70-year-old Mohammad’s attack was not unusual; people accused or convicted of blasphemy in Pakistan face a high level of risk from attacks by religious extremists. Mohammad’s lawyers at legal charity Reprieve had repeatedly warned that he would not be safe in prison.
What’s more, Mohammad should never have faced blasphemy charges in the first place – under Islamic law and Pakistan’s criminal law, mentally-ill people cannot be held accountable for what they do or say. Mohammad’s poor mental health has been confirmed by his UK medical record, and a sworn statement from his British psychiatrist.
Mohammad is now receiving urgent treatment in hospital, where his health is worsening – but despite this, Pakistan’s police want to return him to the same prison in which he was shot. His family in Edinburgh is desperately worried about his safety.
Time is running out for Mohammad to be released and reunited with his family in Britain. Prime Minister David Cameron must use this window of opportunity and ask the Pakistani government to release Mohammed to the UK, rather than sending him back to prison.
Mohammad is an ill, vulnerable man who has suffered a near-fatal attack. It is clear that his sentence is unjust, and his life is at risk if he remains in Pakistan. He must be returned to the UK at the earliest opportunity.