Name: Nadeem Samson
Country/Area of Origin: Pakistan
Background: Nadeem Samson, 47, is a Pakistani Christian who was falsely accused of blasphemy.
Reason for Arrest:
On 24 November 2017, Samson was arrested after two men named Abdul Huq and Sakhawat Dogar accused him of posting blasphemous remarks on his Facebook page; they had urged Pakistani authorities to conduct an immediate raid on Samson’s home. Samson’s family says that the allegations are completely fabricated and were used to settle scores from a previous property dispute.
It is believed that Samson had leased Dogar’s home for an 18 month period and that he had lent Dogar 4,000 dollars to live there; per the agreement, Dogar would reimburse Samson when he eventually left the apartment. Samson had lived in Dogar’s home for the full 18 month lease and, when he informed Dogar he would be leaving and that he expected his reimbursed loan, Dogar became upset and conspired with Abdul Huq to frame Samson for committing blasphemy.
- Huq had used Samson’s public phone number to create a fake Facebook account and post blasphemous material under Samson’s name in order to accuse him later of blasphemy. Police heeded the requests of Huq and Dogar and arrested Samson as well as confiscated his electronics. While detained, Samson was tortured to extract a false, coerced confession.
- In January 2021, Samson’s brother Shakeel reported that in December 2020, his brother’s lawyer Asad Jamal was supposed to visit the High Court to request bail; however, later on it was revealed that he didn’t follow through with the request. Shakeel asked Jamal why he didn’t request bail, and Jamal explained that allegedly the court rejected the bail request. However, there is a lack of clarity regarding whether Jamal requested bail for Samson and it was immediately rejected, or whether Jamal did not file the bail request at all. Shakeel spoke of his brother’s case:
- “He [Asad Jamal] didn’t tell us. He didn’t tell the victim. The attorney never visited in the jail. They never told me what was going on. The CCJP didn’t tell me what’s been wrong. I was calling the CCJP. I’m responsible for everything concerning the case and fighting for my brother. ‘Please, you have to give me evidence,’ I said. They are not returning my calls, they are not returning my emails. [Samson] said he is not free. My brother is unmarried. He has no kids, no wife. [Because of the accusation,] he cannot start his career, he cannot start his own business. [People accused of blasphemy] have no career. They have no life. They have to leave their country to start a new life.”
- In September 2020, Nadeem Samson’s brother, now-US citizen Shakeel Anjum Rafael, explained that the Catholic Church is funding legal aid for Samson’s defense and that “my brother is innocent.”
- Samson currently remains detained at Camp District Jail in Lahore, Pakistan.