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USCIRF Mourns Death of Leading Pakistani Human Rights Defender

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) was deeply saddened to learn of the death on Sunday of Ms. Asma Jahangir, a leading human rights defender in Pakistan and a former United Nations expert on freedom of religion or belief. “Ms. Jahangir was an outspoken critic of the Pakistani government’s misuse of blasphemy laws, particularly targeting Ahmadis and Christians,” said USCIRF Chairman Daniel Mark. “She did this despite great risk to her own personal safety. She will always be remembered as a fearless advocate for human rights both in Pakistan and around the globe.”

Abdul Shakoor

Country:  Pakistan 

Key Fact: 80-year-old Ahmadi manager of a bookshop and optician store

Detained Since: December 2, 2015

Charges: Propagating the Ahmadiyya faith and stirring up “religious hatred” and “sectarianism”

Sentence: Three years in prison under the Penal Code for blasphemy and five years under the Anti-Terrorism Act on January 2, 2016

PAKISTAN: USCIRF Condemns Egregious Treatment of Ahmadis

December 9, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) condemns the raid by Pakistan’s Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) on the publications and audit offices of the Ahmadiyya community in Punjab province.  During this raid, which took place on December 5, police beat and arrested several Ahmadis who later were charged under provisions in Pakistan’s penal code and Anti-Terrorism Act.   

Testimony of USCIRF Chair Thomas J. Reese, S.J., on "Blasphemy Laws and Censorship by States and Non-State Actors"

USCIRF Chair Thomas J. Reese, S.J. testified on July 15, 2016 before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission at a hearing titled "Blasphemy Laws and Censorship by States and Non-State Actors: Examining Global Threats to Freedom of Expression."

From the testimony:


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