A 17-year-old Pakistani student has been jailed for writing insulting comments about the Muslim prophet Mohammed in a school exam, enraging human rights activists who have demanded his release.
“Pakistan has set the standard of intolerance when it comes to misusing blasphemy laws, but sending a schoolboy to jail for something he scribbled on an exam paper is truly appalling,” said Bede Sheppard, senior children’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch.
Sami Ullah, a Muslim student, was arrested in Karachi after the local board of education filed a complaint. The police will not reveal what Ullah wrote on an April 2010 exam for fear of facing blasphemy charges for reiterating the statement. It’s unclear why it took months before the police took action on the board’s complaints.
Human Rights Watch said Pakistan has signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child, an international treaty that guarantees freedom of thought and conscience to anyone under 18.