Muhammed Asghar, a British citizen who was arrested in 2010 in Rawalpindi, was sentenced to death under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws for claiming to be Prophet Muhammad, reports said on Friday.
The 69-year-old’s lawyers had sought leniency by pointing out that Asghar is mentally ill. But this claim was rejected by a medical panel, The Huffington Post reported.
Reprieve, a legal charity in UK, have sought help from the British Government to help Asghar, who is from Edinburgh, Scotland. He was arrested in Pakistan after claiming to be Prophet Muhammad in various letters he sent to the government officials.
“One only needs to check Mohammed Asghar’s extensive UK medical records to see that he is a seriously mentally ill man, in dire need of medical care,” Maya Foa, director of Reprieve’s death penalty team, said in a statement on its website.
“The evidence is clear that he is unable to defend himself in court. Worse still, he is currently being held in utterly unsuitable conditions in prison, and we are very concerned about his health. The British government must immediately take all necessary steps to secure Mr Asghar’s safety,” Foa noted.
The legal charity organisation said on its website that Asghar has a documented history of mental health, and that just a few months before his arrest in Pakistan, he was diagnosed as suffering from paranoid schizophrenia.
The organisation also noted that Asghar suffered a stroke in 2010 and it has left him with a weakness on the left side. The medication for this has not been made available to him in jail, Reprieve said.