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Press Release — April 7, 2003

Pakistani Christian-Falsely Accused, Tortured and Murdered;
Protestors Take His Dead Body To The Streets In Protest

(April 9, 2003, 5:43:06 PM) The Washington-DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern, has just become aware of the murder of a Christian man (Rehmat Masih) by police authorities in Lahore, Pakistan. Rehmat Masih was a staunch Christian that was married to Martha Masih and had 5 children. He was employed as a custodian at the Civil Secretariat in Lahore.

Mr. Masih was falsely accused with another Christian man of the theft of 300 law books from his employer. Although there were 10 other Muslim employees with access to the books, only the 2 Christians were arrested. Rehmat’s wife stated, “My husband was innocent and was arrested only because he was a bold Christian. My husband was uneducated and his means of transport was a bicycle. Why would he steal 300 books and how could he transport them on a bicycle?”

The 2 Christians were taken into custody without charges being filed on March 2nd. After 17 days of illegal detention and severe torture by authorities (in an attempt to pressure them to admit the theft), Rehmat’s health started to fail. He was transferred to a hospital where he died on April 1st.

Family members and fellow Christians, outraged by the persecution and murder of their brother, protested by bringing his dead body to the same government ministry demanding justice. Police cordoned off the area and pushed back the protestors. One of Rehmat’s nephews was struck in the head by a police officer during the protest and was also killed.

ICC urges American Christians to raise their voices in concern about the treatment of Christians in Pakistan. Write or call immediately to Pakistani ambassador Mr. Ashraf Jehangir Qazi and ask for help in securing justice for Christians in Pakistan.

Embassy of Pakistan
2315 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington DC 2008
www.pakistan-embassy.com
Email: parepwashington@erols.com
Ph. 202-939-6200
Fax: 202-387-0484

Chronology:

Mar. 2, 2003 Taken into custody on false charges
Mar. 6, 2003 Officially Arrested-Held for the next 21 days without being presented to the Pakistani court for permission of interrogation
Mar. 2-26, 2003 Tortured Daily
Mar. 27, 2003 Sent to District jail
Apr. 1, 2003 Dies in Hospital

Details:

  • Married to Martha Father of 5 (ages 8-19)
  • Sanitary Worker (Janitor)
  • arrested with another Christian worker on charges of stealing Law Department Books from the government ministry where he worked.
  • Kept in custody and under interrogation for 20 days without the Pakistani Courts permission disregarding Pakistani law.
  • During this time he was severely tortured
  • Tortured to admit guilt
  • Sent to hospital as his health declined as a result of torture
  • Died 4/1/03
  • Quote from wife: My husband was innocent and was involved because he was a bold Christian. How could he steal 300 books on his bicycle?
  • Local Christians took his dead body to the local government authorities and (Punjab Chief Secretary’s office) to protest the torture and killing and demand murder charges be filed.
  • One of Rehmat’s nephew’s (Bodi) was struck in the head with a police baton and died
  • Family now receiving death threats from the authorities.

For additional information or for an interview, contact ICC at 301-989-1708

International Christian Concern is a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC that advocates on behalf of Christians persecuted for their faith. More information is available on the ICC web site at www.www.persecution.org or by calling 1-800-ICC-5441.