Defender of Rushdie to die

BHAWALPUR, PAKISTAN (AP) - A court has sentenced a Muslim man to death by hanging for claiming to be Jesus Christ.

Arshad Javeed was also sentenced to three years of 'rigorous imprisonment' for saying Salman Rushdie's novel The Satanic Verses was a good book, Nawa-e-Wahat reported. The newspaper said a group of Islamic University students was marching through Bhawalpur on 14 February 1989 to protest against the book and demand Mr Rushdie's death.

Javeed stopped the procession, defended Rushdie's book and declared: 'I am the Christ. God is my father. Judgment day will be on February 21 (1989),' the newspaper said.

The mob seized Javeed, beat him and dragged him to a police station, where the blasphemy charge was filed, it said.

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