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Faisalabad , two Christians imprisoned for blasphemy released

ICC Note

The two Christians were released after some Muslims falsely accused them of blasphemy. The Pakistani authorities arrested them last year following the false allegations.

By Fareed Khan

12/16/2009 Pakistan (AsiaNews)-Gulsher Masih and his daughter Sandal, from a village near Faisalabad, indicted and arrested on charges of blasphemy against Islam in October last year, were released on December 14. Khalil Tahir, Gulsher and Sandal’s lawyer, confirmed the ruling of the court in Faisalabad to AsiaNews.

The two Christians were accused of blasphemy under Article 295 paragraph B of the Pakistan Penal Code October 9, 2008. They were charged with having torn some pages from the Koran in the village of Tehsil Chak Jhumra , located in the district of Faisalabad.

Some Muslims who were walking near the Gulsher home accused Masih and his daughter Sandal of “having torn pages of the Koran and thrown them on the street”. The story spread among the mosques of the village, sparking the revolt of an angry mob. Residents of neighbouring villages also took part in the assault, marching with torches to the village, shouting “Death to blasphemers”.

The crowd began throwing stones at the walls of the Gulsher house and hit doors and windows with sticks. They also hurled rocks at an adjacent Protestant church. After months of suffering, the two Christians were declared innocent: the judge Raja Mohammad Ghazanfer dropped all charges and ordered their immediate release.

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