Trouble strikes again in the city of Abbottabad made internationally famous, after Bin Ladin was assassinated there by Americans.
Now an expecting mother and her husband falsely accused of theft on 5th November, have been severely beaten for three days, for their refusal to confess to the implied crime.
Salma Emmanuel the expecting mother is now recovering in intensive care, and her unborn child is is under real threat of a miscarriage. Mrs Emmanuel is herself in critical condition Mrs Emmanuel is being treated at Benazir Shaheed Hospital, where doctors began efforts to save her and the foetus.
Reports claim the doctor on duty confirmed that her body bore marks of severe violence, and that Deputy Superintendent of Police Aziz Afridi denied that police had tortured her. After reports of the violence reached local media, however, it is said the deputy inspector general of Haraza Division, Dr. Naeem Khan, ordered an investigation.
The attack occurred after Mrs Emmanuel was allowed to temporarily store some of her gold jewellery, in the home of her Muslim employer.
Mrs Emmanuel alleges that she started working as a maid at the home of Ghazala Riaz around a year ago. She was part of a team of four servants all who worked on a daily basis and did not stay overnight at the home. Her husband Mr Emmanuel Rasheed works as a TV repairman.
Her brothers wedding was to be held soon so on October 30th she started out for a jewellers to polish her gold jewellery. On the way she was called by Mrs Riaz who required urgent housework. Mrs Emmanuel rushed to her home and asked that her jewellery might be kept in her employers home for safety, to be collected the following day as she did not want to carry it home at night.
After returning home at around midnight Mrs Emmanuel received a call from Mrs Riaz informing her that a burglary had taken place and that goods to the value of 900,000rupees (£6475.77) had been stolen from her property, including; 330g of gold items and a laptop - including Mrs Emmanuel's jewellry.
The Christian couple rushed to Riaz’s house, and found that investigative police where already present.
Police detained and questioned the couple for around 3 hours. They were told that their landlord suspected they were involved in the burglary. After being released they were arrested close to midday they also had a warrant to search their home. The Police search of the couples home elicited no evidence.
The couple has three children – the oldest 12, the youngest 5 – so one of the parents stays home with them when the other goes to work, Rasheed said.
They were released in the evening after various tactics were used to obtain a confession including, threats and beatings.
On November 5th they were arrested again after an army colonel exerted his influence it is alleged. The couple were collected form their home and then had to endure 3 days of torture.
“We may be poor, but our poverty has never shaken our faith in God,” Rasheed said. “He has always provided for our needs, and I knew He would release us from this misery because we are innocent.”
Mr Rasheed was released on bail on November 17th. His wife’s bail hearing has been set for December 8th. Mrs Emmanuel, who was also working as a child-minder in a local school besides working as domestic help, has lost both her jobs. While Mr Rasheed was jailed, his employer immediately found a replacement.
“I used to earn about 7,000 rupees (£50.37) per month, while Salma used to earn around 5,000 rupees (£35.98) per month,” he said. “At the moment both of us are jobless and are being looked after by our relatives … They are the ones who pooled money to hire us a lawyer, otherwise it would have been difficult for us to fight this case.”
As Mrs Emmanuel heals, she said her heart goes out to those wrongly accused of crimes.
“Madam and her family did not name any of their Muslim servants in the investigation, but we stand vindicated after the police could not find any evidence against us,” she said. “Even though I’ve lost my gold ornaments, which I had saved for my daughter, I have faith that God will compensate for our loss.”
We are aware you do not need directions from us to guide that this family need prayer for; the survival of the child, healing to their mind and body and for justice to prevail. Please ensure that you add them to your regular prayers.