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11/29/2011 Pakistan (Compass Direct) – A Christian couple is facing false charges of theft after police in Abbottabad severely beat the pregnant woman and her husband for three days when they refused to confess, they told Compass. 
Salma Emmanuel was taken to a hospital in critical condition on Nov. 7, the life of her unborn child also threatened, she said.
In Abbottabad, 50 kilometers (31 miles) northeast of Islamabad in the Hazara region of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, the 30-year-old Emmanuel and her husband, Emmanuel Rasheed, a 39-year-old TV repairman, said that they were inexplicably arrested after the Muslim woman who employed Emmanuel as a maid had allowed the Christian woman to temporarily store some of her jewelry at her employer’s house. 
Emmanuel told Compass by phone that police arrested them on Nov. 5, keeping her at the Women’s Police Station for interrogation and her husband at the City Police Station – where they told Rasheed he would be released, he said, if he renounced Christ and became a Muslim. 
Emmanuel said that upon reaching the police station, an inspector identified only as Nazia and two other policewomen started punching and kicking her and striking her with batons, demanding that she “confess her crime.” 
“I begged them for mercy, pleading that I am five months pregnant, but they continued their merciless onslaught for over three hours,” she said. ‘They continued to try to force me to admit to the crime, even threatening that they would kill my baby, but I refused to confess a false allegation.” 
She said that after three days, when she was “on the verge of dying,” police called her brother-in-law to the station and told him to take her to a hospital. 
“I had complete faith in Jesus and trusted that He would rescue me and Emmanuel from this great problem,” she said. “It was our faith that kept us going …this was the first time either of us had ever encountered the police, let aside being charged in any case, so you can imagine what we underwent.” 
Emmanuel was treated at Benazir Shaheed Hospital, where doctors began efforts to save her and the fetus.

 As Emmanuel was fighting for her life at the hospital, Rasheed was undergoing a similar treatment at the City Police Station. 
“The police beat me up mercilessly,” he said. “They kept on asking me to confess to the burglary, but I did not submit to their pressure. It was Eid al-Adha [Muslim Festival of Sacrifice, a three-day public holiday in Pakistan] on Nov. 7, and their torture continued during those days.” 
Rasheed said police tried to convert him to Islam while he was in custody. 
“A policeman offered to remove the theft charges against me if I was willing to renounce Christianity and convert to Islam,” he said. “I told him that no matter what happens, I will not renounce my faith, nor would I confess the false charges made against us.” 
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. 

 “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.” 
He happily told how police were unable to find any evidence against the couple, leading to his release from jail on bail on Nov. 17. His wife’s bail hearing has been set for Dec. 8. 

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