An Afghan refugee man holds his son in a poor neighborhood on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)
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Pakistan has handed a death sentence for blasphemy to a 69-year-old Briton with a history of mental illness, even though his lawyers were barred from the courtroom partway through the trial, the lawyers said Friday.The charges are hard to fight because the law does not define what is blasphemous and presenting the evidence can sometimes itself be considered a fresh infringement.Blasphemy is punishable by death in Muslim-majority Pakistan. Muhammad Asghar from Edinburgh was sentenced to death Thursday, the law firm said, citing court officials in the city of Rawalpindi, neighboring the capital. The law firm also asked not to be identified for fear of being targeted by extremists. Lawyers defending those accused of blasphemy frequently receive death threats and politicians supporting reform of the law have been killed.
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