Appeal for blasphemy accused Scots grandfather

Angry Lahore residents stage a demonstration decrying blasphemy. Picture: Getty
Angry Lahore residents stage a demonstration decrying blasphemy. Picture: Getty
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Lawyers acting for Mohammed Asghar, a Scottish grand­father suffering from severe mental illness, have appealed his death sentence for blasphemy.

They have asked the high court in Pakistan to overturn his conviction and sentence on the grounds that no evidence concerning Mr Asghar’s mental health problems was considered. The NHS has extensive records of the treatment he received while in the UK, and Edinburgh in particular.

However, Mr Asghar’s lawyers say the appeal may take up to five years to be heard by Pakistan’s judicial system, due to a huge backlog of cases.

They also fear for his health, saying Mr Asghar, who lived and worked in the Scottish capital for 30 years, remains severely mentally ill.

Mr Asghar, 69, who ran grocery shops in Midlothian before moving back to Pakistan in 2010, was convicted of blasphemy by a court in Rawalpindi, near Islamabad, last Thursday, after claiming he was a prophet.

Last week Mr Asghar’s lawyers said they had been denied access to him. They finally managed to visit him in prison on Thursday.