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Abdul Hameed

Volume 460: debated on Wednesday 9 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will make representations for commutation to the Pakistani authorities following the death sentence handed down by the courts there upon Abdul Hameed for the crime of blasphemy. (135756)

We regularly raise our concerns regarding blasphemy laws and the use of the death penalty with the Pakistan authorities and will continue to do so. In December 2006, together with EU partners, we reiterated to the Government of Pakistan our concerns about the effects of blasphemy legislation and its frequent abuse. My right hon. Friend the Minister for Trade, Investment and Foreign Affairs, Ian McCartney, most recently raised this issue in correspondence with the Government of Pakistan in February.

Although we do not usually raise individual cases, we follow closely the subject of blasphemy trials in Pakistan. Officials receive reports on blasphemy trials from human rights groups and monitor cases reported in the media. We oppose the death penalty in all circumstances as a matter of principle. We, together with our EU partners, call upon all states to abolish the death penalty for all crimes and forever.