ASIA/PAKISTAN - Christian couple lynched: the trial gets serious

Thursday, 21 April 2016 religious minorities   persecutions   blasphemy  


Lahore (Agenzia Fides) - It will not be easy to get justice for the death of the Christian couple Shahzaz Masih and Shama Bibi, lynched and burned alive in November 2014 by a crowd of Muslims in Kasur, for alleged blasphemy. This is what Christian lawyer Sardar Mushtaq Gill told Fides, who is following the case, and is representing the brother Shahzad, who filed the complaint.
While Yousaf Gujjar, the main suspect was granted bail (see Fides 19/04/2016), the trial begins to get serious: lawyers have questioned the prosecution witnesses, who confirm the lynching. "The judicial confrontation is very hard", explains Gill to Fides. "Those arrested have also launched threats to witnesses, to intimidate them, even in the courtroom", he says. Some have repented: "During interrogations, I personally felt the pain, the witnesses shed tears", notes Gill.
On the side of the defense of the accused there are 24 lawyers, joined by other collaborators, while on the prosecution side (the families of the couple killed) there are only three. According to the provisions of the anti-terrorism court, 106 men were arrested and three released on bail. The next hearing is scheduled for April 28, 2016. "The judicial process will be long and difficult, we hope that the judiciary recognizes the horrible crime and does justice", concluded Gill. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 21/04/2016)