Bid to stop blasphemy row Scot returning to jail

Jasmine Rana the daughter of Mohammad Asghar, who was shot in a Pakistan prison, at a press conference in Glasgow. Picture: PA

Jasmine Rana the daughter of Mohammad Asghar, who was shot in a Pakistan prison, at a press conference in Glasgow. Picture: PA

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LAWYERS for a mentally ill Scot sentenced to death in Pakistan have filed an emergency application to prevent him returning to the jail where he was shot last week.

Mohammad Asghar, 70, was shot in the back last Thursday at the notorious Adiala prison in Rawalpindi, where he is serving a sentence for blasphemy.

Mr Asghar’s legal team yesterday filed a request that plans to return him to his cell be stayed amid fears for his safety.

The former Edinburgh businessman, who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, is currently in an intensive care unit after being attacked by a guard last week.

He was sentenced to death in January under Pakistan’s strict blasphemy laws for writing letters in which he claimed to be the Prophet Muhammad.

Maya Foa, a director at the human rights charity Reprieve’s, said: “Mr Asghar has suffered a near fatal attack at the hands of the people who were supposed to protect his security.

“He is currently in hospital being treated for the injuries he sustained and for his severe mental illness, which has been exacerbated by the recent attempt at this life.

“It is unthinkable that Mr Asghar should be removed from the hospital – let alone be taken back to the very prison where he was attacked. David Cameron must step in and protect the life of this vulnerable British citizen without delay.”

Solicitor Aamer Anwar, who is representing Mr Asghar’s family in the UK, is due to meet with First Minister Alex Salmond to discuss the case later.

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