Pakistani man jailed for 13 years over 'religiously offensive' Facebook post

Rizwan Haider was convicted in an anti-terrorism court of three charges, including promoting sectarian hatred

A Pakistani man has been sentenced to 13 years in prison for allegedly posting "religiously offensive material" on his Facebook page, it has been reported.

Rizwan Haider, 25, was convicted in an anti-terrorism court of three charges, including promoting sectarian hatred, the Times of India reports.

He allegedly published a post on Facebook referring to the Prophet Mohamed.

"This case... was registered against Haider, who is a Shiite Muslim by faith, in January for posting objectionable material against the belief of Sunni Muslims," Adeel Chattah, the public prosecutor in the case, told the Agence France-Presse news agency.

Haider was also fined 250,000 rupees (£2,626), his lawyer said, adding that he denied the charges and has the right to appeal.

His lawyer, Shameen Zaidi, dismissed the accusations, saying: "He only liked it and did not post it on the page."

Pakistan has made increasing use of its hate crime laws as part of a campaign to combat extremism, following a Taliban attack on a school in Peshawar in December 2014 which killed 153 people, mostly children.

A man is facing prison in Russia after posting a message online stating "there is no God". If found guilty, he faces up to a year in prison. 

He was reportedly arrested under the country's anti-blasphemy laws, introduced after Pussy Riot's controversial protest against Vladimir Putin at a Moscow cathedral in 2013.

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