Pakistani Christian couple Shafqat Emmanuel and Shagufta Kauser – who’re nonetheless ready for his or her attraction to be heard by the Lahore Excessive Courtroom (LHC) – have been tried and placed on demise row in April, 2014. Shagufta is the second girl after Bibi to be ordered capital punishment.
Christian girl Asia Bibi could have lastly safely exited Pakistan after years on demise row after being falsely held on blasphemy expenses, however the struggle for justice is way from over.
Bibi’s very jail cell is now dwelling to a different impoverished Christian girl, and the identical Lahore-based lawyer, Saif-ul Malook, is representing each the lady and her Christian husband. The pair have been sentenced to demise below a questionable conviction of insulting Islam.
“They didn’t get a good trial,” Malook instructed Fox Information. “They’re harmless.”
Shafqat Emmanuel and Shagufta Kauser – who’re nonetheless ready for his or her attraction to be heard by the Lahore Excessive Courtroom (LHC) – have been tried and placed on demise row in April 2014. Shagufta is the second girl after Bibi to be ordered capital punishment.
The couple, believed to be of their late 30’s, hail from the town of Gojra within the Punjab province in Pakistan’s east, and have been residing with their 4 younger kids in a church compound. Shagufta was tasked with making ends meet, working as a cleaner and servant on the church college. Her husband is paralyzed from the waist down, having fractured his backbone in a 2004 accident.
However in the summertime of 2013, their easy lives have been upended.
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In line with courtroom paperwork obtained by Fox Information, fellow Gojra resident Muhammad Hussain acknowledged that on July 18, 2013, he was endeavor prayers at a mosque when he obtained a textual content from an unknown cell quantity, which contained blasphemous remarks.
He allegedly confirmed the textual content to mosque clerics Muhammad Shabbir and Khalid Maqsood after which approached his counsel for authorized proceedings. Then, he and his lawyer claimed they each then obtained extra inflammatory messages, though the texts have been alleged to have been written in English, and each Shafqat and Shagufta are illiterate and neither have a data of English or its alphabet.
“A duplicate of Shagufta’s Nationwide Identification Card was out there inside human useful resource information. It’s believed that a recognized pal of the complainant who was additionally working there stole a duplicate of her Nationwide Identification Card (NIC),” defined Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Affiliation, which advocates on behalf of Christians within the Muslim-majority nation. “He then used the stolen doc to buy the alleged SIM card in her title and later misused the SIM card to implicate Shagufta and her husband – colluding with Muhammed Hussain.”
Christian girl on demise row in Pakistan
(Courtesy British Pakistani Christian Affiliation)
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Nonetheless, native police registered the blasphemy case following the grievance of the cleric and the Christian couple was arrested on July 21, 2013, below expenses of each “insulting the Koran” and “insulting the Prophet.” The prosecution then claimed that the SIM was bought by Shagufta alongside along with her husband from a neighborhood JAZZ franchise.
But based on Malook, there isn’t any proof that they both despatched the texts nor bought the incendiary chip. He additionally contends that Shafqat was pressured below torture into making a bogus confession forward of the trial.
“To avoid wasting my spouse, I confessed,” he mentioned in an announcement to his lawyer.
The accused couple have moreover vowed that the motive behind the registration of the case was simmering anger over a minor quarrel that occurred between their kids and their neighbors 6 months previous to the blasphemy expenses.
Moreover, issues have additionally been raised that Decide Mian Amir Habib, who sentenced the couple to capital punishment, was intimidated by hardline legal professionals and non secular leaders locally.
“5 years on, the imprisoned couple are praying for his or her launch and awaiting the relisting of a beforehand poorly administered attraction,” mentioned Chowdhry. “The easy incontrovertible fact that the couple couldn’t probably have written the blasphemous textual content messages attributable to being hyper-illiterate ought to outcome of their instant launch, nonetheless in Pakistan main proof can usually be ignored and worse nonetheless manipulated by highly effective and rich folks intent on doing malice.”
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Malook additionally underscored that there are grave issues for the well being of each husband and spouse as they languish behind bars, their lives in limbo.
“Shagufta wants assist from the world, she is continually weeping that she can’t spend any extra time there,” he mentioned, having seen her final month. “And Shafqat is disabled on the mattress, he can’t transfer. The newest physician’s report signifies that his complete again is sort of destroyed from the mattress sores. He could die in jail.”
Activists from the Pakistani non secular occasion Sunni Threek protest the Supreme Courtroom’s resolution to uphold the acquittal of Aasia Bibi, in Lahore, Pakistan, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019. (AP Photograph/Okay.M. Chaudhry)
Shagufta is being held at Multan jail whereas her husband is imprisoned about 150 miles away on the Faisalabad District Jail. They haven’t seen one another since earlier than their sentencing. Their 4 kids, aged between 9 and fifteen, at the moment are within the care of a paternal aunt and concern for their very own lives.
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There are mentioned to be “reporting errors” that induced the appeals case to get misplaced within the system, but Malook is assured it is going to be re-listed and introduced earlier than the Decide as quickly as subsequent month.
And whereas the overturn of Bibi’s sentence has introduced with it some gentle and hope for others falsely accused, there are nearly 200 instances of Pakistani Christians charged with blasphemy, withering away behind bars.
“They’re harmless,” Malook added. “I will not let Christians die right here in our prisons. It’s higher I endure than them.”