Displaying items by tag: Lahore
Patras Masih was 18 when he was accused of sharing a photo posted on Facebook deemed insulting to Muhammad. This triggered protests by a violent Islamic extremist group who sent hundreds of Christian families fleeing from their homes in Lahore. That was four years ago and the courts still do not want to hear his case because of the involvement of the extremist Muslims. Patras’s lawyer said that the prejudice and discrimination he and his defence team have faced from trial and superior courts is unprecedented in her experience. In the last four years her team has filed five bail petitions in the Lahore High Court, including one last month, and one in the Supreme Court, all without success. Meanwhile on 8 June a court sentenced two brothers to death despite the absence of hard evidence. The unjust persecution of Christians via Pakistan’s blasphemy laws is worsening. See
In Pakistan, false accusations of blasphemy are common and often motivated by personal vendettas or religious hatred. Imran was falsely accused of blasphemy and imprisoned for life. On 15 December the Lahore High Court acquitted him and released him, after he had spent over ten years in prison. The development came as a shock to Imran’s family. ‘It is a day of resurrection for us’, Naveed Masih, Imran’s brother, said. ‘God has heard our cry and we are very thankful to Him. It’s a Christmas gift for us.’
Last week, after more than three years in jail, a Christian facing the death penalty on charges of blasphemy was granted bail by the Supreme Court in Lahore. Adnan Prince had been imprisoned in Lahore’s district jail since November 2013 after he was accused by a work colleague of insulting Islam, the Qur’an and Islam’s prophet. The three-man bench ordered the release of Prince, with bail set at Rs 300,000 (around £2,300). According to Mr Prince’s lead counsel, the case against her client should have been decided within two years. This did not take place due to lawyers’ strikes and delaying tactics by the prosecution, she said. She also explained that legal formalities were not fulfilled; guidelines passed by the Supreme Court say that a police officer of at least the rank of superintendent should have conducted the investigation. She added that there were no direct eyewitnesses and that all forensic evidence failed to link the accused. Although earlier bail applications had been dismissed by both a district judge and the Lahore High Court, the Supreme Court granted Prince bail and ordered his release. Similar cases have been known to take as long as seven years to reach trial.