Pakistan’s implementation of its controversial blasphemy laws is “fundamentally unfair”, according to a report by the International Commission of Jurists.

The ICJ report documents problems including: intimidation and harassment of judges and lawyers, bias against defendants, undue rejection of bail and prolonged pre-trial detention, “incompetent” investigation and prosecution, the prosecution and detention of people with mental disabilities, and inhumane conditions of detention and imprisonment.

“Pakistan’s blasphemy laws fly in the face of Pakistan’s international legal obligations, including the duties to respect the rights of freedom of expression and freedom of religion and belief,” said Sam Zarifi, ICJ’s Asia Director. “But even worse, those facing accusations of blasphemy suffer through trials that are often fundamentally unfair.

“It’s time Pakistan and other countries got rid of these noxious laws, which continue to stifle freedom of expression and freedom of religion or belief, and instead promote extremism and intolerance.”