Posting to Facebook just got a man sentenced to death

Posting to Facebook just got a man sentenced to death

CultureJune 16, 2017 By Brian Frederick

Go back and flip through your Facebook feed from the last 3 months, we'll wait. ... You good? How was it? We're guessing at times you were angry, frustrated, snarky or just plain rude. Now imagine you're sitting in a hardcore jail cell waiting to die because of something you drunkenly typed at three in the morning and forgot to delete before the government saw it. 

It's ridiculous to think a scenario like this would ever happen in the U.S. (although we're not far off), but for 30-year-old Taimoor Raza, it's his frightening reality now. Recently, a Pakistani anti-terrorism court ruled that he be put to death because of a series of Facebook posts they found were "using derogatory remarks ... in respect of the Holy Prophet."

As CNN reports, the conviction isn't as popular of one as some would think. Amnesty International's Pakistan campaigner, Nadia Rahman, fervently disagrees with it and believes this will likely set a "dangerous precedent."

She adds, "No one one should be hauled before an anti-terrorism court or any other court solely for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief online."

But it's a stark reality that's deeply embedded into the ultra-religious culture there. In May, the country's telecommunication authority actually sent out a text message to millions of citizens, warning them that sharing blasphemy (a loose use of the word in reference to anything negative relating to the Prophet Muhammad) will result in serious action.

"The uploading and sharing of blasphemous content on the Internet is a punishable action under the law. Such content should be reported for legal action," read the alert.

This incident is just one of many the people in Pakistan face as millions continue to fight for certain freedoms the U.S. often takes for granted. 

Ask yourself: if we were like them, how safe would you be?