Christian couple sentenced to death for blasphemy in Pakistan ‘after they were tortured in confession’ for freedom in final appeal
- A married couple, from Gojra near Lahore, have been sentenced to death since 2016
- Shagufta Kausar and her husband Shafqat Emmanuel were accused of sending texts that insulted the Prophet Muhammad
- The wife’s brother claimed that their confession was extracted under torture
- Even accusations that have not been proven to insult Islam in Pakistan can trigger murder and the lynching of angry mobs.
A Christian couple was sentenced to death for blasphemy in Indonesia Pakistan will appear in court tomorrow for the final hearing of their appeal after six years of the death sentence.
Shagufta Kausar and her husband Shafqat Emmanuel, a poor Christian couple from the city of Gojra in the Punjab region of Pakistan, will attend the final hearing at the Lahore High Court tomorrow after a death sentence since 2014.
They were arrested for sending blasphemous text messages that insulted the Prophet Muhammad to a local priest.
Shagufta’s brother, Joseph, said that he visited the couple in prison where they told him that the confession was taken because of torture.
Shagufta Kausar (right) and her husband Shafqat Emmanuel have spent the past six years in prison awaiting an appeal against their death sentence for ‘blasphemy’ to conclude. Their final hearing is tomorrow at the High Court in Lahore
The Pakistani Army is on guard outside the Lahore High Court in 2018. The couple’s case is stronger than the Asia Bibi case, their lawyer said, adding that the judges were often “afraid” to overturn the decision. Some famous judges have been killed for freeing people accused of crimes
“He told me that the policeman was beating [Shafqat] so hard that he broke his leg, ‘Joseph said.
He added that the guilty verdict had taken the lives of four children of the couple who ‘want to see their parents again’.
Regarding the accusations against his family, Joseph, who asked not to be named, said he thought the couple were illiterate so doubtful they could write a message.
He told the BBC that his sister worked as a caregiver at a Christian school and that Shafqat was not working, due to a disability, at the time of their arrest.
Defamation is a very sensitive matter in Pakistan and any sentence guarantees a death sentence.
The photo of the date-out leaflet released in 2018 shows a portrait of Asia Bibi, who was released from blasphemy in 2018
Even accusations that have not been proven to insult Islam can lead to murder and lynching by angry mobs.
Although no one has been hanged because of the crime, those released have faced the wrath of the extremist criminals.
The couple’s lawyer, Saif ul Malook – who represented Asia Bibi and helped overturn his beliefs in 2018 – said the couple’s case was stronger than Bibi’s, but the judges were often “afraid” to overturn the decision.
Some famous judges have been killed for freeing people accused of crimes.
Last year, Amnesty International said: ‘The blasphemy law in Pakistan is too broad, unclear, and compelling.
People shout slogans when they protest the release of Asia Bibi, a Christian accused of blasphemy, whose death sentence was canceled by the Supreme Court, in Lahore, Pakistan, in November 2018
“They have been used to target religious minorities, pursue personal revenge and commit vigilant violence.”
According to Malook, the couple believes one of their Christian neighbors bought a sim card in the name of Shagufta and sent a message to the Imam to settle one score.
Aunt’s release last October, a Christian who had spent more than eight years on death for blasphemy, sparked violent protests across Pakistan.
Aunt now lives in Canada with her family.
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