Pakistani Christian Couple Acquitted of Blasphemy Charges and Freed From Death Row | American Center for Law and Justice

Pakistani Christian Couple Acquitted and Freed From Death Row

By Shaheryar Gill1623416340000

Two Pakistani Christians falsely charged with violating Sections 295-B and 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code on July 20, 2013, were acquitted after spending more than seven years on death row.

On April 4, 2014, Shafqat Emmanuel and his wife, Shagufta Kausar, were convicted and sentenced to death for allegedly sending blasphemous text messages about Islam’s Prophet Muhammad and the Quran. The couple denied the charges and testified during trial that a dispute with a neighbor led to the blasphemy accusation.

In Pakistan, blasphemy is a serious subject that often results in violent protests from Muslims. For example, on May 18, 2021, a mob attempted to storm a police station in Golra, near Islamabad, after police refused to hand over a suspect accused of blasphemy. The mob set out to lynch the accused, but failed in its attempt. In another recent case, an enraged mob gathered outside a hospital in Lahore where two Christian women were accused of removing an old sticker that contained a verse from the Quran. One of the women was even attacked by a co-worker with a knife.

And most notably, for years the ACLJ aggressively advocated to help save the life of Christian mother Asia Bibi, who was sentenced to hang under Pakistan’s archaic blasphemy laws. Asia, a mother of five children, was beaten by a mob, arrested, and charged with blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad after she offered to give her Muslim co-workers a sip of water.

We presented Asia Bibi’s plight to the U.N. to urge intervention on numerous occasions. And we sent legal letters to the Pakistani government, demanding her immediate release. More than 800,000 people around the world signed our petition to demand Asia’s freedom.

Thankfully, Pakistan’s Supreme Court overturned her conviction and death sentence, granting her freedom.

In Shafqat and Shagufta’s case, the trial court found them guilty of violating Section 295-C, which criminalizes derogatory remarks about the Prophet Muhammad, and sentenced them to death.

On June 3, 2021, the Lahore High Court overturned their conviction, ending the couple’s nearly eight years of suffering. Given Pakistani society’s intolerance for blasphemy accusations, however, the couple still faces major safety concerns. Mob violence and targeted attacks are common in the Pakistani city, Gojra, where the couple lived before their imprisonment. For example, in 2009, a mob of violent Muslim protestors ransacked a Christian neighborhood in Gojra, burned over 100 houses, and burned eight people to death. The infamous attack was triggered by reports that a Christian had desecrated the Quran.

Cases alleging blasphemy are often built on weak evidence and accompanied by an unsafe environment that makes fair trials impossible. These cases represent examples of the violence, discrimination, and targeted attacks that many Pakistani Christians routinely face under the current Pakistani law. Nonetheless, we are hopeful that the acquittals of Shafqat Emmanuel and Shagufta Kausar hint to future positive outcomes for those accused of blasphemy.

We will continue to defend Pakistan’s persecuted Christians through our European counterpart, the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ), and its affiliate office on the ground in Pakistan which has been representing clients in cases involving religious freedom and human rights abuses for over ten years.

Defend Dying Christians in Pakistan

Persecuted Church  Signatures

LOGIN

Receive the latest news, updates, and contribution opportunities from ACLJ.

$20
$40
$60
$120
$240
Make this a monthly Tax-Deductible gift.

As we aggressively fight in Pakistani courts to defend dying Christians, every donation (even $5) makes a difference & will be MATCHED. Have your gift doubled through our Matching Challenge.

Email Address is required.
First Name is required.
Last Name is required.
Credit Card Number is required.
Verification Code is required.
Expiration Month is required.
Expiration Year is required.
Receive the latest news, updates, and contribution opportunities from the ACLJ.
Encourage your friends to sign and donate by sharing this petition.

Armed Radicals Kidnap 140 Christian Kids From High School in Nigeria

By Jordan Sekulow1627045200000

Most of us have the luxury of feeling that our children and grandchildren are safe going to school each day. But parents in Nigeria – particularly Christian families – find themselves locked in a constant state of terror as school children are being murdered or kidnapped by Islamic radicals. In...

read more

ACLJ Credited with Influencing Policy To Protect Christians in Nigeria

By Jordan Sekulow1625166000000

For nearly a decade, the ACLJ has been working to save persecuted and dying Christians in Nigeria from unthinkable atrocities. We’ve told you repeatedly how radical Islamists have been targeting innocent Christians for violence simply because of their faith. For years we’ve learned of atrocity...

read more

ACLJ Details Atrocities in Burma and Demands Action at the UN

By Paul Archuleta1624453140000

Within Myanmar (Burma), the Burma Army is continuing to carry out mass atrocities against the people of Burma. In one case on March 27, 2021, a villager in Karen State lost her husband when the Burma Army carried out an airstrike and bombed their home. She gave a chilling account of the attack, “My...

read more

The Persecution of Christians in Nigeria Demands Our Attention

By Mike Pompeo, Senior Counsel for Global Affairs1623240000000

Every single day in Nigeria, Christians aren’t just having their right to religious freedom denied – they are being murdered because of their faith in Jesus. I have often spoken of the importance of religious liberty to a free society. It is a foundational freedom. No society that denies its people...

read more

American Center for Law and Justice | Washington D.C. | Copyright © 2021, ACLJ | Privacy & Security Policy | Annual Report

The ACLJ is an organization dedicated to the defense of constitutional liberties secured by law.

Visit ACLJ.org/help to submit a legal help request. All legal requests submitted via any other method cannot be answered.

Through our $1 Million Matching Challenge, all gifts will be doubled, dollar-for-dollar, up to the online daily total.

American Center for Law and Justice is a d/b/a for Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism, Inc., a tax-exempt, not-for-profit, religious corporation as defined under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, specifically dedicated to the ideal that religious freedom and freedom of speech are inalienable, God-given rights. The Center's purpose is to engage legal, legislative and cultural issues by implementing an effective strategy of advocacy, education and litigation to ensure that those rights are protected under the law. The organization has participated in numerous cases before the Supreme Court, Federal Court of Appeals, Federal District Courts, and various state courts regarding freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Your gift is very much appreciated and fully deductible as a charitable contribution. A copy of our latest financial report may be obtained by writing to us at P.O. Box 90555, Washington, DC 20090-0555.