ASIA/PAKISTAN - Lawyers threatened: they defend a Christian accused of blasphemy

Wednesday, 27 January 2016 blasphemy   religious minorities  

Lahore (Agenzia Fides) - Two lawyers who offer their professional services at the NGO Pakistani "Lead" (Legal Evangelical Association and Development) were stopped in the street and threatened by unknown people on their way to court, for the hearing of Sajjad Masih Gill, a Christian sentenced to life imprisonment for alleged blasphemy, who appealed to the Lahore High Court. The two lawyers are attorney Aric John and his assistant, blocked on the road between Kasur and Lahore by a group of armed militants who threatened to attack them and their families. The legal staff had to ask for a postponement of the hearing, now scheduled for February 16.
As reported to Fides, the two lawyers offer their services for free. Other threats were made to lawyers in other cases in the past. Sajjad Masih Gill, 31, was sentenced in first instance to life imprisonment for an alleged crime committed in July 2013 in Gojra, in Punjab. Like him, many Pakistani Christians live a judiciary ordeal and demand justice, defending themselves from false and spurious accusations.
"Our lawyers and our volunteers are at the forefront and will not be intimidated", said to Fides Sardar Mushtaq Gill, a Christian lawyer at the head of "Lead".
"We will continue to strive for the protection of those who suffer human rights violations in Pakistan, in particular for the victims of the blasphemy law and for those who suffer and are hungry for justice and peace". Lawyer Gill said that "this law is used against Christians. We ask the international community to help Pakistan to abolish the law". (PA) (Agenzia Fides 27/01/2016)