Shafqat Emmanuel, a disabled Christians sentenced to death for blasphemy in Pakistan, is set to appeal his conviction on March 5. In July 2013, Emmanuel and his wife were accused of sending blasphemous text messages to a local imam in Gojra. The couple were later convicted and sentenced to death after Emmanuel confessed to the crime. Emmanuel has recently claimed that the reason he confessed was to stop police from torturing his wife. Blasphemy convictions in Pakistan are often highly criticized as it take little to no evidence to support an accusation. When leveled against a religious minority, the accusation is often enough evidence to support a conviction.
2/19/2016 Pakistan (Christian Today) – A disabled Pakistani Christian was forced into a confession of blasphemy because he could not bear to watch his wife being tortured, he says.
Shafqat Emmanuel and Shagufta Kausar, from Gojra in eastern Pakistan, were found guilty in 2013 of sending a text message “blaspheming” against the prophet Mohammed to local Muslims and sentenced to death.
According to the Christians in Pakistan website, they were both tortured by police. Shafqat, who is paralyzed from the waist down, told lawyers from aid organizations: “There is no man who can stand to see his wife being tortured by police, so to save my wife, I confessed.”
The couple, who have four children and work at St John’s School in Gojra, have denied sending the texts, saying they had lost the mobile from which the texts came and that the SIM card in it was not theirs.
“There was no evidence that the text messages came from a phone owned by the couple,” Farukh Saif, an official of World Vision in Progress, which is helping them, told Christians in Pakistan.