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Christian couple sentenced to death for sending 'blasphemous' text message

A Christian couple have been sentenced to death in Pakistan for allegedly sending a text message considered insulting to the Prophet Mohamed.

Shafqat Emmanuel and Shagufta Kausar, from the eastern town of Gojra, were found guilty of sending the text to the imam of their local mosque, who brought a complaint against the couple last July.

The couple come from the town of Gojra in Punjab and are expected to appeal the sentence. Their lawyer said the trial was conducted unfairly and that the message originated from a mobile phone which has been lost previously.

Nadeem Hassan said a bogus sim card had been presented as evidence and an appeal would be presented at the high court in Lahore, The Telegraph has reported.

He told The Morning Star News that the judge had handed down the death penalty despite a lack of concrete evidence because of pressure from groups.

Gojra has been the scene of communal violence in the past, when a rumour that a copy of the Koran had been desecrated led to a mob burning nearly 40 houses and a church in Gojra, killing eight Christians.

Many Christians have been convicted on blasphemy charges for either desecrating the Koran or blaspheming the Prophet Mohamed in Pakistan.

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