‘Blasphemous words’ case: appeals court suspends jail term verdict against man

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A Doha appeals court has suspended a lower court’s three-year imprisonment verdict against a Lebanese man for “uttering blasphemous words”, a legal source said.
The deportation order was also suspended and it is now up to the Interior Ministry whether to keep him in the country, they said.

The presiding judge of the upper court said the “conviction is still in place” and added that “commuting the punishment is by no means an underestimation of the offence.”
“The conviction itself carries a deterrent factor for the accused and also for those who dare to cross the limits with Almighty God,” the judge said.

The crime was particularly serious as the accused was a Muslim, the court said.
Earlier, the Doha first instance court heard how the accused, a foreman, made the offending comment to one of his co-workers at a worksite on May 1, 2007.

The prosecution said the man uttered the blasphemous words after a worker failed to carry out his instruction.
Two other workers who were present at the site at the time of the incident testified against their boss.
The accused, in his mid-30s, denied uttering any such remarks saying the witness had a grudge against him as he recommended his dismissal from service.
The defendant’s lawyer told Gulf Times that his client would fight to prove his innocence in the Supreme Court of Justice.

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