Pakistani Prosecutor Tries Blackmailing Christian Prisoners

ICC Note:

A Pakistani prosecutor offered forty-two Christians accused of lynching two Muslims acquittal in exchange for conversion to Islam. In 2015, two suicide bombers attacked several churches in Youhanabad, killing and injuring dozens of Christians. Little was done to catch the those responsible and the imprisoned Christians were accused of lynching two Muslim males suspected of being involved in the attack. The prosecutor’s office tried blackmailing the Christians the same way 6 months ago, but they refused. This situation represents the discrimination and injustice Christians face because of their faith. Rather than following the rule of law, the government is trying to use this situation for religious gain.

3/30/2017 Pakistan (International Business Times) – A Pakistani deputy district public prosecutor (DDPP), Syed Anees Shah, has been accused of blackmailing many Christians to embrace Islam to avoid being convicted for the killing of two Muslims in mass violence in 2015.

Forty-two Christians were charged with lynching two Muslim men in March 2015, soon after suicide blasts targeted Sunday mass in two churches in Pakistan. Violence erupted in Youhanabad Christian neighbourhood of Lahore on March 15 after a mob lynched two men suspecting them of being involved in the blasts.

Joseph Franci, a rights activist who is legally assisting the accused Christians, said that DDPP Syed Anees Shah had told the accused in the case that they will be acquitted if they converted from Christianity to Islam, according to The Express Tribune.

“He told them if they embrace Islam, he can guarantee them their acquittal in this case,” Joseph said. The activist added that the accused were dumbfounded when they were approached with the deal.

An advocate, Naseeb Anjum, said that the offer made by the public prosecutor was nothing new and that Shah had also given the same offer to some other accused around six months back, however they rejected it.



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