USCIRF Chairman Daniel Mark adopted Pakistani prisoner of consience Abdul Shakoor as part of USCIRF's Prisoners of Conscience Project. Mr. Shakoor was the manager of an optician’s store and bookshop in Punjab province, Pakistan. He was arrested in December 2015 for selling an Ahmadiyya commentary on the Qur’an, among other publications. In January 2016, he was given an 8- year prison sentence: five-years for violating the Anti-Terrorism Act for “printing, publishing, or disseminating any material to incite hatred,” and three-years for violating the Pakistani Penal Code, under a section that criminalizes acts and speech that insult a religion or religious beliefs or defile the Qur’an, the Prophet Muhammad, a place of worship, or religious symbols.
USCIRF's Religious Prisoners of Conscience Project highlights individuals imprisoned for exercising their freedom of religion or belief, as well as the dedicated advocacy of USCIRF Commissioners working for their release. Click the below photos for more information on the prisoners, and the Commissioners' efforts on their behalfs.