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Religious Intolerance

A severely mentally ill British pensioner sentenced to death in Pakistan after being found guilty of breaching the country’s blasphemy laws is being denied independent legal advice to help him appeal against the threat of execution.  The retired grocery shop owner was found guilty by a judge after state-appointed counsel failed to raise vital expert medical evidence proving he was unfit to stand trial for allegedly claiming to be the Prophet Mohammed in a series of unsent letters which were handed in to police by a man with whom he was embroiled in a property dispute. He had travelled to his birth country when he was released from hospital after being sectioned in Edinburgh. Among his grandiose symptoms, which included claiming to be a holy man, were delusions that he was being bugged by the British, Pakistan and United States secret services.

Lawyers representing Muhammad Asghar, 69, from Edinburgh, were told they could not see him in prison this weekend in defiance of his constitut…