ISLAMABAD — A mentally ill British man has been sentenced to death in Pakistan after being convicted of blasphemy charges, defense lawyers said Friday.
Mohammed Asghar was arrested in 2010 in Rawalpindi, near Pakistan's capital, Islamabad, for claiming to be the Prophet Muhammad in letters that were later produced at his trial, prosecutor Javed Gul said. But a lawyer who previously defended Asghar said the case was really a property dispute and that Asghar suffers from mental illness.
A judge convicted and sentenced Asghar, who is of Pakistani origin, on Thursday, Gul said.
Asghar returned to Pakistan in 2010 after being treated for paranoid schizophrenia in Edinburgh, the lawyer said.
The defendant later fell into a dispute with a tenant who brought the blasphemy complaint against him to police, the lawyer said.
The doctor treating Asghar in Edinburgh said in a letter dated June 2011 that he suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and believed that the Pakistani and British governments were attempting to control him. The letter was provided to The Associated Press by his lawyer.
The lawyer spoke on condition of anonymity as those involved in blasphemy cases face threats and violence.