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Sunday, 27 June 2010

PAKISTAN - Christian Man Faces Death After False Blasphemy Accusation

PAKISTAN - Christian Man Faces Death After False Blasphemy Accusation

Washington, D.C. (June 23, 2010)– International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that a Pakistani Christian was imprisoned on June 19 and faces the death penalty after a Muslim man accused him of blasphemy in Faisalabad, Pakistan.

Sajid Hameed Bajwa accused Rehmat Masih of blaspheming the prophet Muhammad. According to article 295 C of Pakistan’s penal code, blaspheming Muhammad is punishable by death.

Rehmat’s son, Boota Masih, told ICC that the family is fearful of attacks by Muslim mobs. Female members of the family and their children have already left their homes and moved to other areas because of safety concerns.

He also said that the real reason for the accusation stems from a land dispute between his father and Muslims. This has been awaiting trial for sometime.

Rehmat is held at the District Jail Faisalabad. He has not been tortured or mistreated by police.

Boota told ICC, “We want to make peace. We don’t want to leave our home. We have been living here for long time. We own property in this place. We want peace and justice and my father should be set free from jail.”

Several Pakistani Christians have been falsely accused of blasphemy by Muslims. The charges have resulted in mob violence against the accused and other Christians. In August 2009, 11 Christians were killed by Muslim mobs in Gojra, Pakistan after accusation of blasphemy.

ICC’s Regional Manager for South Asia, Jonathan Racho, said “Once again, Muslims are using the blasphemy law in order to settle a personal vendetta. We are extremely concerned for the safety of Rehmat and his family as well as other Christians in the area. We urge Pakistan to protect the Christians from any attacks by Muslims and to immediately release Rehmat.”

Please contact the Pakistani embassy in your countries and politely ask the Pakistani officials to release Rehmat and protect his family and property from any attacks. When you call the embassies, give them the following information: the name of the victim (Rehmat Masih), the name of the police station where he is detained (District Jail Faisalabad) and the names of the police officers in charge of the police station (Qaisar Mushtaq and Sardar Dogar).

Pakistani Embassies:

USA: (202) 243-3254 (phone), (202) 686-1534 (Fax)
Canada: (613) 238-7881 (phone), (613) 238-7298 (Fax)
UK: 0870-005-6967 (phone)
PS How much Longer before this is the case in the UK & USA