LAHORE, Pakistan — A Pakistani court sentenced a Muslim woman to life in prison after finding her guilty of burning pages of Islam's holy book, a prosecutor said Friday.

Under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, anyone found guilty of insulting the religion or religious figures can be sentenced up to death. While authorities have yet to carry out a death sentence for blasphemy, just the accusation can provoke riots.

Government prosecutor Mohazib Awais said the woman, Aasiya Bibi, was arrested in 2021 on blasphemy charges after residents claimed she desecrated the Quran by burning its pages. Awais said the judge announced the verdict Wednesday in the eastern city of Lahore. He said Bibi, who has the right to appeal, had denied the charge during her trial.

A Christian woman with the same name was acquitted of blasphemy in 2019 after she spent eight years on death row in Pakistan. She moved to Canada to escape death threats from Islamic extremists upon her release. Wednesday's case involved a different woman.

Domestic and international human rights groups say blasphemy allegations have often been used to intimidate religious minorities and to settle personal scores.

Earlier in March, another court in Gujranwala, Punjab province, sentenced a 22-year-old student to death and gave a teenager a life sentence in two separate cases after finding them guilty of insulting Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.

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