Pakistani Christian Couple Sentenced to Death for Blasphemy Hopes for Justice
06/11/2020 Pakistan (International Christian Concern) – Seven years ago Shafqat Emmanuel and his wife, Shagufta, were accused of blasphemy for allegedly sending a text message insulting the Prophet Muhammad and the Quran. The Christian couple was sentence to death in April 2014. Now, the couple’s appeal to the Lahore High Court has been delayed again to June 22.
Shafqat and his wife were accused of blasphemy in 2013 by an imam and an attorney both claiming to have received text messages of the couple insulting the Prophet Muhammad and the Quran.
“It really does seem like this whole thing is just a set up against this couple,” Bruce Allen of FMI recently told Mission Network News. “Whoever was perpetrating it knew who the imam was and who he was talking with and sent the text messages at the proper time to just inflame and incite people against the couple.”
Following the accusation, police entered Shafqat’s house and beat him into making a forced confession. Shafqat, who is paralyzed from the waist down, claims that he only made this admission under extreme duress.
Despite Shafqat’s forced confession, his illiteracy means he could not have sent the messages in the first place.
“He couldn’t,” Allen explained to Mission Network News. “Number one, he’s illiterate. Number two, the text messages weren’t even in Urdu, the national language of Pakistan. They were in English. He doesn’t even know how to speak English, let alone read or write it.”
Since their arrest in 2013, Shafqat and his wife have been jailed in separate prisons. The couple has been in the process of appealing their case since their death sentences were handed down in 2014. The latest appeal hearing was set to take place on June 3, however, the hearing was delayed until June 22.
Saif-ul-Malook, the couple’s lawyer, is confident the couple will be released on appeal if a decision is made on the merits.
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