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Tuesday 22 January 2013

Free Younis Masih!

Younis Masih

Younis Masih imprisoned under the blasphemy law of Pakistan since May 30th 2007, suffered a serious heart attack 8 January 2013.

His sentence which has spanned 7 years is currently up for appeal and has been detailed in Lahore High Court since 17th January 2013. Today Chief officer for Lead (a Christian Advocacy group in Pakistan) Mr Mustaq Gill said;

"Extremist individuals gathered inside and outside the courts, intent on preventing justice and a fair trial!"

The case has been adjourned for 23 January 2013 for final arguments.

Some brief facts surrounding Younis’s trial:

Younis Masih a 27 years old Christian man, resident of Chungi Amer Sidhu, Lahore was arrested under the charges of blasphemy on September 10, 2005. 

On Saturday evening 9th September 2005, Younis Masih went to the house of Baba Chaby, where a late evening Qawali (Muslim religious song event) was being held.  Musicians were singing at high volume. Younis politely asked the group not to sing so loudly, as his nephew had recently died and they were in a period of mourning and his family were being kept from sleeping.

Baba Chaby refused to turn down the music. When Younis Masih further pleaded for a lowering of the volume, the revellers became angry and abused him.  To avoid incident Younis Masih returned home .

The next day, the Muslim men who had been listening to the music discussed the issue with an extremist group and incited them to take action against Younis.

The perpetrators of the allegation searched for Younis Masih and found him playing billiards at a local hall. They started to thrash him with snooker cues and beat him till he fell unconscious. His wife attempted to intervene to protect him, she too was badly beaten and her clothes were torn to shreds.  Some reports allege she was raped.

The attackers left Younis Masih lying on the ground unconscious.  With the help of his cousin Noble Masih his wife was able to get him home. When Younis Masih regained consciousness, she and Noble Masih went with Younis to the local police station to register a complaint. The Station House Officer (SHO) of the local Police promised to investigate the incident.

Whilst a police was being filed by Younis Masih  announcements were being made in area Mosques, instigating the local Muslims to attack and burn Christian’s houses.  The public addresses were informing local  Muslims that Younis Masih had committed a blasphemy, by uttering derogatory remarks against the prophet Muhammed.

An angry mob of 400 protesters armed with sticks and bricks attacked and ransacked Christian houses in his village.  Causing damage to residential properties and the local Churches.  Attacks on the churches resulted in bibles being strewn across the streets.

As a result of the attack over 100 Christian families were forced to flee Chungi Amer Sidhu, fearing for their lives they took shelter with friends and family.  Many have not returned as they feel unsafe in this village.

The angry mob surrounded "Factory Area Police Station" and demanded a blasphemy case be registered against Younis Masih.  The mob refused to leave until they were shown a copy of the First Incident Report (FIR). 

Local police registered a blasphemy case against Younis Masih under section 295C.  The FIR number was 723/2005 produced at factory area police station Lahore September 10th 2005, at 7:30 pm.  The FIR was shown to the baying mob.

Police then arrested Younis Masih and his cousin Noble Masih, who were already sitting in the police station whilst lodging their complaint with police. Both Cousins were brutally tortured in public, by local Police and sent to Kot Lakhput Jail for detention.

On May 30th 2007 at Lahore Court Younis Maish was charged under the blasphemy law, was fined 100,000 rupees and sentenced to death.

We pray that the court upholds his appeal and that Younis Masih is set free.  We call on humanitarians of all walks, to support our call for his freedom.

Show support for Younis by joining our London protest and Trafalgar Square Peace Concert 2nd March 2012:

(Click Here for more details)

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