PARVEZ ALAM CHOUDHRY – Lawyer, Chairman of Legal Aid for Destitute and Settlement
YOUNIS MASIH – Pakistani Christian
Younis Masih, a Pakistani Christian, has been sentenced to death based on an apparently unfounded charge of blasphemy. His lawyer, Parvez Aslam Choudhry, has been subjected to death threats and acts of violence for his involvement in the trial. Parvez Aslam Choudhry is the chairman of the NGO Legal Aid for Destitute and Settlement, an organization which proves legal assistance to impoverished detainees and works against discriminatory laws in Pakistan.
Younis Masih was charged with blasphemy for allegedly making derogatory remarks about the Prophet Mohammed at a religious service held at a house near his own on 9 September 2005. However, he denies this and his wife corroborates that he only asked people inside the house to not sing so loudly around midnight, as he was in mourning for his recently deceased nephew. He was sentenced to death on 30 May 2007.
Parvez Aslam Choudhry recieved a death threat from the lawyer of the cleric who filed the complaint, and also an anonymous death threat on 9 June 2005. On 11 May 2006, assailants rammed Parvez Aslam Choudhry’s car off the road where it fell forty feet. A passenger, lawyer Rana Javed Rafiq was killed and Parves Aslam Choudhry and another passenger were hospitalized. On two occasions in February and July 2006, Parvez Aslam Choudhry was threatened at gun point to not continue to represent blasphemy cases.
Letter by Benjamin D. Levine sent out on June 26, 2007.