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April 6 2014 1 06 /04 /April /2014 11:33

blasphemy-law Pakistan

 

AGAIN Pakistan has subjected more Christians to death sentences for blaspheming against Islam. There is an indication that the USA is finally beginning to notice this persecution of the Pakistan Christian minority. Muslims in Pakistan are using the rule of law to exploit Pakistani Christians because the accusations are widely unsubstantiated. Muslims use the Blasphemy Law legal code to settle disputes to their favor or to have an excuse to seize land.

 

Shamim Masih has the report that alerted me to this most recent case against a Christian couple. However, I did a little checking and discovered there is more detail that should pique your awareness about modern day ethnic cleansing by Muslims against Christians in Pakistan. I am posting two other similar stories that should spark some outrage.

 

JRH 4/6/14

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Christian Couple Sentenced to Death

Blasphemy Accused Christian Couple Stand in the Queue of Death

 

By Shamim Masih

Sent: 4/4/2014 8:19 AM

 

ISLAMABAD: On March 27, a session court in Lahore sentenced a Christian man at the heart of the controversy that triggered the riots to death for blasphemy. After a week, on April 4, 2014, session court in Toba Tak Singh announced the death sentence for a Christian couple, Shafaqat Emmanuel and his wife Shagufta Kauser, both accused of sending blasphemous text massages.

 

According to World Vision in Progress [WVIP], an additional session judge, Mian Amir Habib, has announced the death sentence for a Christian couple accused of blasphemy case. Last year, on July 21st, 2013, a crippled Shafaqat Emmanuel and his wife Shagafta Kauser were arrested under First Investigation Report – FIR No. 407/13 under section 295-B & C, allegedly sending blasphemous text messages to the local Muslims. WVIP reported that neither the SIM card was registered with their names nor the couple was qualified enough to write these text in English. Furrakh H Saif, chief of WVIP managing the case said that the hypocrisy and the shallowness of our legal system stands exposed. As usual, the lower court has gone with the populist, Islamist stance on a sensitive blasphemy case and kicked the ball down the road to the high court. The blasphemy law will continue to bed evil Pakistan as long as they are on the statute books and local courts remain susceptible to fear of or coercion by violent extremists, he said.

 

In this situation we fear that Pastor Adnan and Asif Pervaiz could be other victims of our Pakistani extra judicial killing, he added.

 

A recent report from a US government advisory panel [Link added by Editor] said Pakistan used blasphemy laws more than any other country in the world; listing 15 people on death row and 19 others serving life sentences.

 

In January 2014, an elderly Briton was sentenced to death for blasphemy [Link added by Editor] though his lawyers said that court failed consider “overwhelming” evidence of his mental illness. 

 

Be Blessed,

Shamim Masih

_______________________

Christian couple get death sentence in blasphemy case

 

By ASHER JOHN

APRIL 4, 2014

Pakistan Today


Just days after a Christian man was sentenced to death for alleged blasphemy in Lahore, a trial court in Toba Tek Singh on Friday handed death sentence to an uneducated poor Christian couple accused of texting blasphemous messages to local Muslims in Gojra, Pakistan Today has learnt.

 

Advocate Nadeem Hassan, who represented Shafqat Emmanuel and Shagufta Kausar, in court, told Pakistan Today that Additional Sessions Judge Mian Amir Habib had announced the death sentence under “great pressure” even though the prosecution had failed to present any concrete evidence against the couple.

 

“Touqir Ashraf advocate and some other Islamist lawyers from Lahore, who were representing the complainants, openly pressurised the judge during the jail trial of the accused. Even on Friday, the complainants’ lawyers kept reciting Quranic verses referring to death for blasphemers, and said that they were willing to become Ghazi Ilamdin Shaheed and Mumtaz Qadri if the judge did not convict the accused,” said Hassan.

 

The case [FIR No. 407/13] against Shafqat, a 43-year-old crippled man, and his wife Shagufta, a cleaner at a local missionary school, was registered on June 20, 2013 by the Gojra City Police Station under sections 295-B and 295-C of the blasphemy law and 25-D of The Telegraph Act of 1985 which recommends a maximum of three years for intentionally “causing annoyance”.

 

They were accused of sending blasphemous text messages to the complainants Muhammad Hussain and Tehsil Bar Association President Anwar Mansoor Goraya from a number allegedly registered in the name of Shagufta on June 18, 2013. The couple was taken into custody on June 20 and sent to the Toba Tek Singh District Jail the next day.

 

“The police failed to recover the SIM [Subscriber Identity Module] allegedly registered in Shagufta’s name from the couple’s possession. The police just produced a receipt of a cellular company on which Shagufta’s national identity card number was written against the number,” the lawyer said, adding that the police had earlier claimed that Hussain’s call data revealed that the messages had been sent from Shagufta’s cell phone number.

 

Hassan said that during the preliminary investigation Shagufta had told the police that her cell phone had been lost for a month, and that she did not know who might have sent the alleged messages. Nevertheless, the Gojra City Police detained the couple, along with their four minor children, and pressured them to name someone who could have sent the messages.

 

Hassan said that in order to placate the mobs led by some Islamist clerics, the police forced Shagufta’s husband Shafqat to confess that he had sent the blasphemous messages. “The police tortured Shafqat to confess before a judicial magistrate but the crippled man had retracted his statement when we moved the court to record his statement again,” he said.

 

Shafqat’s backbone was fractured in an accident in 2004. Since then he has been restricted to a wheelchair due to the paralysis of his lower body. He is also fitted with a catheter. Since his accident, Shagufta has been the only breadwinner for the family’s four children, Ambrose (13), Danish (10), Sarah (7), and Amir (5).

 

The lawyer said that they would challenge the verdict in High Court once they receive a copy of the detailed verdict.

 

NOT THE FIRST CASE

 

At least three other cases have been registered previously against Christians based on blasphemous text messages.

 

In May 2006, Qamar David was accused of sending blasphemous text messages to various Islamic clerics in Karachi. He was convicted in February 2010 and died in prison on March 15, 2011.

 

In January 2009, Hector Aleem and Basharat Khokhar were accused of sending text messages that hurt Muslims’ religious sentiment. They were acquitted of the charge on May 31, 2011.

 

Sixteen-year-old Ryan Stanton was charged with sending blasphemous text messages in Karachi on October 10, 2012. He has fled the country after the family’s home was ransacked by a violent Muslim mob.

 

Pastor Zafar Bhatti was accused of the same crime on November 11, 2012.

 

At least two Muslims, Abdul Sattar and Irfan Rafique, have also been charged for sending text messages.

 

Pakistan has never carried out an execution for blasphemy, which it defines as “the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God.”

_____________________________

Pakistani couple get death sentences for blasphemy

 

5 April 2014 Last updated at 11:13 ET

BBC

 

A Pakistani Christian couple have been sentenced to death for blasphemy after allegedly sending a text message insulting the Prophet Muhammad.

 

The couple, named as Shafqat Emmanuel and Shagufta Kausar, were found guilty of sending the text message to the imam of their local mosque.

 

Allegations of blasphemy against Islam are taken very seriously in Pakistan.

 

Several recent cases have prompted international concern about the application of blasphemy laws.

 

The imam brought a complaint against the couple last July.

 

The couple's lawyer told the BBC he would appeal against the sentences and said the trial had not been conducted fairly.

 

Pakistan has a de facto moratorium on the death penalty so it is unlikely the couple will be executed.

 

They come from the town of Gojra in Punjab, previously the scene of communal violence.

 

In 2009 the rumoured desecration of a copy of the Koran led to a mob burning nearly 40 houses and a church in Gojra. At least eight members of Christian community died in the violence.

 

Minorities targeted

 

Since the 1990s, scores of Christians have been convicted for desecrating the Koran or blaspheming against the Prophet Mohammed.

 

While most of them have been sentenced to death by the lower courts, many sentences have been overturned due to lack of evidence.

 

Critics argue that Pakistan's blasphemy laws are frequently misused to settle personal scores and that members of minority groups are also unfairly targeted.

 

Muslims constitute a majority of those prosecuted, followed by the minority Ahmadi community.

 

In 2012 the arrest of a young Christian girl, Rimsha Masih, on blasphemy charges provoked international outrage. After being detained in a high security prison for several weeks she was eventually released and her family subsequently fled to Canada.

_________________________

Christian Couple in Pakistan Sentenced to Death for ‘Blasphemy’

Sentence comes eight days after second Christian handed death penalty.

 

By Our Pakistan Correspondent

April 4, 2014

Morning Star News

 

LAHORE, Pakistan (Morning Star News) – A Christian couple in Punjab Province incapable of writing proper Urdu was sentenced to death today for allegedly sending blasphemous text messages, bringing the number of Christians on death row in Pakistan to four.

 

In a country reeling from increasing religious intolerance, the death knell for Shafqat Emmanuel and Shugufta Emmanuel sounded eight days after a court in Lahore sentenced another Christian, Sawan Masih, to death for allegedly insulting Islam’s prophet, Muhammad, during a drunken conversation with a Muslim friend. that made Masih the second Christian in Pakistan now on death row after a judge sentenced Christian mother Asia Bibi to death for alleged blasphemy in November 2010.

 

A court in Toba Tek Singh heard the case against Shafqat Emmanuel, 43, and his wife, a cleaner at a local missionary school and mother to four young children. They were accused of sending blasphemous text messages on June 18, 2013, to complainants Muhammad Hussain and Gojra Tehsil Bar Association President Anwar Mansoor Goraya from a number allegedly registered in Shagufta’s name.

 

The Gojra City Police in Punjab charged them with blasphemy under Sections 295-B (insulting the Koran, punishable by life imprisonment), 295-C (insulting Muhammad, punishable by death) and 25-D of The Telegraph Act of 1985. Section 25-D recommends a maximum of three years for intentionally “causing annoyance.”

 

The couple’s lawyer, Nadeem Hassan, said the judge had succumbed to Islamists’ pressure and handed down the death sentence even though there was no concrete evidence against the couple.

 

“Toba Tek Singh Additional Sessions Judge Mian Amir Habib was clearly intimidated by advocate Touqir Ashraf  and some other Islamist lawyers from Lahore who were representing the complainants,” Hassan said. “These men kept pressuring the judge during the entire trial, which was conducted in prison due to fears for the couple’s security. Even on Friday [March 28], the complainants’ lawyers kept proclaiming Koranic references calling for death to blasphemers.”

 

Prosecuting attorneys told the court they were “determined to become Ghazi Ilamdin Shaheed and Mumtaz Qadri if the judge did not convict the accused,” Hassan told Morning Star News in Lahore. Ilamdin Shaheed is revered as a hero by Muslims for killing a Hindu publisher, Mahasay Rajpal, who in 1924 published a book considered blasphemous against Muhammad. Qadri was a police guard who gunned down a top government official, Salman Taseer, because of his outspoken views on the country’s controversial blasphemy laws. Qadri has been sentenced to death but has challenged his conviction.

 

“The police failed to recover the SIM [Subscriber Identity Module] allegedly registered in Shagufta’s name from the couple’s possession,” Hassan said. “The police just produced a receipt of a cellular company on which Shagufta’s national identity card number was written against the number.”

 

He added that police had earlier claimed that Hussain’s call data had revealed that the messages had been sent from Shagufta’s cell phone number. Hassan said that during the trial, he kept demanding that the prosecution present the call data record in court, which they failed to do.

 

“During preliminary investigations, Shagufta had told the police that her cell phone had been lost for a month, and that she did not know who might have sent the alleged messages,” he said. “Nevertheless, the Gojra City Police detained the couple, along with their four minor children, and pressured them to name someone who could have sent the messages.”

 

Hassan said that in order to appease mobs led by Islamist clerics, police forced Shafqat Emmanuel, who is confined to a wheelchair due to a spinal injury, to confess that he had sent the blasphemous messages.

 

“The police tortured Shafqat to confess before a judicial magistrate, but the crippled man retracted his statement when we requested the session judge to record his statement again,” he said.

 

Shafqat’s backbone was fractured in an accident in 2004. Since then he has been paralyzed in the lower body. Since his accident, Shagufta has been the only breadwinner for the family’s four children, Ambrose, 13, Danish, 10, Sarah, 7, and Amir, 5.

 

Hassan said he would challenge the verdict in High Court once he receives a copy of the detailed verdict.

 

Biased Court

 

Farrukh Harrison of the Christian advocacy group World Vision in Progress told Morning Star News that his group had been protesting against the “court’s biased attitude” from the trial’s outset.

 

“Judge Habib simply refused to accept our submissions regarding insufficient evidence presented by the prosecution,” Harrison said. “We also moved the High Court in this regard, but our petition was referred back with a direction to the trial court to expedite the matter.”

 

Harrison lamented the fact that the judge had given death sentence to both the husband and wife even though they had forced a confession from her husband.

 

“Why was Shagufta given death sentence when the police claims that her husband had committed the act?” he said. “Isn’t this travesty of justice that a poor couple has been convicted for a motiveless crime?”

 

Harrison said the court also should have noted that in most cases of blasphemy, the accused are from poor background.

 

“The question is what could have been this couple’s motive for committing this crime in the first place,” he said. “They are uneducated, poor people whose entire life is limited to their hometown only.”

 

The activist further said that their lawyer had told the court that the couple couldn’t possibly have written the alleged texts written in Roman Urdu when they couldn’t even read or write Urdu properly.

 

“It’s only a matter of time when two other Christians accused of blasphemy [Pastor Adnan Masih, aka Adnan Prince, and Asif Pervaiz] would also be given the death sentence,” he said. “It’s a pity that all these people will have to suffer for years in prison until the High Court judges their cases on merit.”

 

At least three other cases have been registered previously against Christians based on blasphemous text messages.

 

In May 2006, Qamar David was accused of sending blasphemous text messages to various Islamic clerics in Karachi. He was convicted in February 2010 and died in prison on March 15, 2011.

 

In January 2009, Hector Aleem and Basharat Khokhar were accused of sending text messages that hurt Muslims’ religious sentiment. They were acquitted of the charge on May 31, 2011.

 

Ryan Stanton, then 16, was charged with sending blasphemous text messages in Karachi on Oct. 10, 2012. He has fled the country after the family’s home was ransacked by a violent Muslim mob.

 

At least two Muslims, Abdul Sattar and Irfan Rafique, have also been charged with sending text messages.

 

Rights groups have said that Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are often misused to persecute minorities and to settle personal scores. In a recent report, Amnesty International said the vague formulation of the blasphemy laws, along with inadequate investigation by authorities and intimidation by mobs and some religious groups, has promoted vigilantism across Pakistan, especially in Punjab Province.

 

Although Pakistani courts have ordered death sentences on a variety of charges, thousands of inmates have been parked on death row since a government moratorium on executions began in 2008. But since the election last year of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who has publicly supported capital punishment, analysts have speculated that the government might move to hold executions.

 

Sawan Masih was sentenced by Lahore Additional District and Sessions Judge Chaudhry Ghulam Murtaza on March 27. The street sweeper was also fined 200,000 rupees (US$2,027). Accusations against Masih sparked the destruction of 180 Christian-owned homes and shops in Lahore’s Joseph Colony in March 2013; an anti-terrorism court freed the 133 Muslim suspects in spite of strong video evidence against them.

___________________________

Christian Couple Sentenced to Death

 

Edited by John R. Houk

Brackets indicate data added by the Editor.

 

© Shamim Masih

Special Correspondents

Daily Khabrian (PakBiz.com description) & Channel - 5

Human Rights Activist

 

Snapshot of Human Rights Activism from 2011

Christian Rights Activist
Freelance Journalist 

Secretary General of Information 

Pakistan Christian Congress

 

Shamim Masih’s Donate/Support info:

 

Editor: For Americans especially, I have discovered the best way to donate to Shamim Masih is via Western Union sending to a Western Union agent in Islamabad.

 

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____________________________

Christian couple get death sentence in blasphemy case

 

PakistanToday.com.pk is a Nawa Media (Pvt.) Ltd. website. Please know that while using this website and/or submitting information at this website you are volunteering the same; you are informed of the way such information may be used and you agree to such use.

____________________________

Pakistani couple get death sentences for blasphemy

 

BBC © 2014

___________________________

Christian Couple in Pakistan Sentenced to Death for ‘Blasphemy’

 

 © 2014 Morning Star News. Articles/photos may be reprinted with credit to Morning Star News.

 

Morning Star News is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that relies solely on contributions to offer original news reports of persecuted Christians. By providing reliable news on the suffering church, Morning Star News’ mission is to empower those in the free world to help and to encourage persecuted Christians that they are not forgotten or alone. For free subscription or to make tax-deductible donations, contact editor@morningstarnews.org, or send check to Morning Star News, 24310 Moulton Parkway, Suite O # 157, Laguna Hills, CA 92637, USA. 

 

 

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