LAHORE: Blapshemy accused Adnan Masih hands himself over to police as he considers himself secure in police custody amid serious life threats.
Adnan Masih, a young evangelist, accused of blasphemy has yielded to police due to serious threats to his life from Islamic extremists, his lawyer said.
Attorney Aneeqa Maria, head of The Voice Society, told that,” Adnan Masih agreed to surrender to police in Lahore, the end of his pre-arrest bail period, because of serious threats to his life. Additional Sessions Judge Khizar Hayat Khan acknowledged the risk to Masih’s life and ordered police to ensure his security while he is in custody.”
“We thought it wise to surrender Masih to the police by bringing to the judge’s notice that he would have most likely been killed by Islamist extremists belonging to the banned militant outfit, which had been demanding from the police and The Voice Society that he be handed over to them,” Maria said.
She continued,” Masih, 26, was deeply frightened when he agreed to surrender. The hapless man knew he did not have any option – the odds were against us, he knew we could do nothing else except seek refuge in courts. My heart grieved when I handed him into police custody. I’m determined to prove his innocence, because I believe that he has been wrongly accused.”
Notably, the commotion generated by Islamist protestors outside the courtroom caused Judge Muzamil Ahmed Khan to call off Adnan Masih’s scheduled hearing in which the court was to decide where he will be held.
Attorney Maria revealed, “We reached the district courts at 7:30 a.m., but a large number of Islamists, some of them armed, were present outside the courtroom. We went to the superintendent of police’s office, where we were told that Masih would be produced in court on Friday [Nov. 8] because they feared violence. We would not have believed him if we hadn’t seen the extremists at the courts ourselves. The police are saying that they will send Masih to prison, as keeping him in their custody could be a security risk. They will interrogate him in prison.”
Since few weeks the Islamist clerics and members of a banned extremist group have been staging protests outside the police station calling Adnan Masih’s death. The banned group registered a blasphemy case against Adnan Masih on Oct. 8 this year; if found guilty of blaspheming, Adnan faces capital punishment.
While Superintendent of Police Operations Jahanzeb Khan told that Adnan Masih considerably safe in police custody. “We will not allow any person to take the law into their hands. The case will be investigated on merit, and all angles will be thoroughly examined,” he said. He added that police could question Masih in prison if they felt that keeping him in a police station was not required.
Sources in the superintendent of police’s office told that police would not seek his physical custody. “In such cases, the accused persons are safe inside prisons where a separate barrack is allotted to all persons accused of blasphemy. Those facing or convicted of blasphemy are not allowed to mingle with the other inmates, and special security is deployed at their barrack. They are taken outside their barrack for exercise when all other inmates are locked in their respective cells,” said a senior official of the Lahore Camp Jail.