The Lahore High Court in Pakistan on Monday granted bail to a 20-year-old Christian man convicted of blasphemy. Nabeel Masih was 16 years old when a photo of the Kaaba, a holy site in Islam, with a pig on top of it appeared on his Facebook page.
According to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), police quickly removed the image from Masih’s Facebook page, and “it is still unknown whether Masih posted the photo himself or was just tagged in the photo.”
Masih was convicted of violating sections 295 and 295-A of the Pakistan Penal Code and was denied bail multiple times despite his appeals. In a 2016 report, Audrey Gaughran of Amnesty International criticized the broad blasphemy laws, saying, “once a person is accused, they become ensnared in a system that offers them few protections, presumes them guilty, and fails to safeguard them against people willing to use violence.” The report also found that the laws are used “to target some of the most vulnerable people in society, including children, individuals with mental disabilities, members of religious minorities, and the poor”
Masih’s lawyer Naseeb Anjum told the Associated Press that Masih was granted bail but did not specify when Masih will be released.