Name: Tahir Ahmad Naseem
Country of Origin: Pakistan
Background: Ahmadi Muslim
Reason for Arrest and Imprisonment: In 2018, Naseem was originally arrested after he claimed to be the Prophet. By making this claim, he was accused and convicted of blasphemy under Pakistani’s controversial Penal Code Sections 295-A, 295-B, and 295-C, which states that:
“Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.”
Naseem was in police custody for two years awaiting a sentence, which would be delivered on July 29, 2020.
Death: While standing on trial in a courtroom in Peshawar, Pakistan, Naseem was shot six times by a man whose name has not been released to the public. As a result of his wounds, Naseem died.
A video which has circulated on social media shows the alleged killer sitting on a bench while being detained by police, as he explains that the Prophet came to him upon a dream and told him to kill Naseem for committing blasphemy.
On July 30, 2020, USCIRF made a public statement regarding Naseem’s untimely and unjust death:
“Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are indefensible to begin with but it is outrageous beyond belief that the Pakistani government was incapable of keeping an individual from being murdered within a court of law for his faith, and a U.S. citizen, nonetheless. Pakistan must protect religious minorities, including individuals accused of blasphemy, in order to prevent such unimaginable tragedies. The authorities must take immediate action to bring [Mr. Naseem’s] killer to justice.”