Pakistani Court Overturns Younis Masih’s ‘Blasphemy’ Conviction, Death Sentence

Beaten, tortured Christian spent 7.5 years in jail.

Younis Masih

LOS ANGELES (Morning Star News) – A court in Pakistan today overturned the death sentence of a Christian convicted under Pakistan’s “blasphemy” laws and ordered him released, according to an advocacy group.

Younis Masih, who has languished in jail since his arrest on Sept. 10, 2005, was declared innocent by Lahore High Court justices Khaja Amtiaz Ahmed and Khalid Mehmood Khan, according to Legal Evangelical Association Development (LEAD). The justices also overturned a 100,000-rupee (US$1,013) fine against him.

Masih had reportedly suffered a heart attack on Jan. 8.

On Sept. 9, 2005, he left a midnight gathering at a house after Muslims loudly singing a religious song became angry at him for requesting that they sing more quietly. The Muslims incited others against him the next day and beat him unconscious. Islamic leaders later incited mobs to burn Christians’ homes, saying Masih had committed blasphemy and uttered derogatory remarks against Muhammad, the prophet of Islam.

More than 100 Christian families fled their homes. Police filed a blasphemy case against Masih in order to pacify the furious mobs and tortured him in custody.

He was sentenced to death by a judge in Lahore on May 30, 2007. The appeal was filed by the Legal Aid for Destitute and Settlement, and his case was re-opened in September 2012.

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