In its push to see blasphemy laws repealed worldwide, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has released a new report referencing some of the most high-profile cases.
‘Selected blasphemy cases’ highlights the well-known trials of Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama in Indonesia and Asia Bibi in Pakistan, alongside others like Gad Younan, a teacher sentenced to three years in prison for filming a private video that mocked Islamic State, and Ashraf Fayadh, sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia “for allegedly spreading atheist thought in his poetry and questioning religion”.
USCIRF urges readers of the report to “focus on the real people impacted, and not just the laws themselves”. Reading their stories, the charges against them and their sentences helps “understand the devastating impact of these laws and the need for repeal”, it adds.
The new report accompanies USCIRF’s other recent report, ‘Respecting Rights? Measuring the world’s blasphemy laws‘, which documented the 71 countries – ranging from Canada to Pakistan – that have blasphemy laws (as of June 2016).