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Anti-Terrorism Court acquits suspects in Christian couple’s lynching case

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An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) has acquitted suspects in Kot Radha Kishan lynching case. Hearing the case on Saturday, March 24, the court maintained that there were doubts about involvement of these suspects in the lynching of the Christian couple. Giving them the benefit of doubt the court cleared them of the charges.

Persecuted Pakistani Christians

In this regard, 20 people have been acquitted. Those acquitted include, Faryad, Babar Ali, Islamuddin, Zulfiqar Ali, Arshad Ali, Jawed, Abid, Sabir, Muhammad Sharif, Sarfraz, Sultan, Aftab, Muhammad Ashraf, Abid Hasan, Asif, Owais and others.

Also Read: Pakistani court acquits a Christian embroiled in a fabricated blasphemy case

On November 4, 2014; a charged mob of around 1600 burnt Shahzad Masih and his wife Shamma alive in a brick kiln owned by Yousaf Gujjar. The Christian couple was accused of blasphemy which incited a horrific end to their lives. The incident took place in Chak 59 of Kot Radha Kishan, district Kasur of Punjab province of Pakistan. Shahzad and Shama worked as laborers at the same brick kiln, they were thrown into.

On the other hand, some claimed that Shahzad had borrowed some amount from the owner of the brick kiln as a loan but could not return on promised time and so a dispute aroused between the two. Consequently, blasphemy accusation was used as tool against Shahzad; in order to execute vengeance.

Initially, the police arrested prime suspect Yousaf Gujjar and three others who were accused to have incited the mob against the Christians couple. Yousaf Gujjar was also granted bail later on. The Supreme Court strongly criticized the negligence of police at the time when the lynching took place. The apex court took the police to task by saying that five policemen including an ASI were present at the scene- while the Christian couple was being burnt alive; however, still the mob managed to burn the Christians.

In 2016, the Anti- Terrorism Court sentenced five suspects to death on two counts for being involved in the lynching of Shahzad and Shama. The court also sentenced eight other suspects to two years of imprisonment on same charges. Previously, in 2015, 106 suspects were indicted in this case.