Facebook’s well-known and somewhat controversial CEO Mark Zuckerberg is apparently in danger of facing the death penalty in Pakistan. A Pakistani lawyer is said to have filed a petition with the court to have charges brought against the CEO and a couple of its co-founders for blasphemy against Muhammad, which is punishable by death in the country. This is over the same “Draw Muhammad Day” Facebook Page that got the social network banned in Pakistan and later in Bangladesh.
According to a report by The Register, a lawyer, Muhammad Azhar Siddique, filed a First Information Report (FIR), which is regularly used to launch a criminal investigation. It appears that no charges have been filed so far, but the FIR refers to the Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code, which covers blasphemy against the prophet.
"Use of derogatory remark etc, in respect of the Holy Prophet, whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation, or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable for fine," that section reads.
It’s a serious offense, since it’s punishable by death or with prison for life. And if that wasn’t enough, you can also get a fine. Where does it end? The petition for an investigation is for Facebook’s CEO, co-founders Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes and “Andy,” the woman that created the “Draw Muhammad” contest.
Apparently, the lawyer that filed the petition says he expects the local police to contact the Interpol and that arrests should be coming soon. That’s a bit optimistic, to say the least. And if you think it’s a bit strange to file charges against the people that run a service that had nothing to do with the actual content, this is a country where ‘insinuated blasphemy’ is punishable by death, so it probably makes perfect sense.