Court Charges 106 Suspects in Shahzad Shama Case

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Shama and Shahzad
An anti-terrorism court, yesterday charged 106 people with the murder of a Christian couple Shahzad and Shama who were lynched after being accused of blasphemy in Punjab province last year.

Shehzad Masih and his wife, Shama, who was reportedly pregnant, were beaten and burned to death in a furnace following rumors that two had burned pages of the Qur’an in the city of Kot Radha Kishan.
The incident in November last year sparked international outrage.

A challan, or statement of charges, submitted in a Lahore court said three Muslim clerics are accused of inciting a mob of about 400 to attack Shahzad Masih and his wife Shama in 2014, after burned pages of the Koran were found near their home. The two were beaten, then burned in a brick-making kiln in the town of Kot Radha Kishen

The clerics, the charge sheet said, were involved in provocative speech against the impoverished couple. The mob demanded Masih and his wife convert to Islam or face consequences for committing blasphemy. Witnesses told the British Broadcasting Corp. the couple was locked in a room overnight and later attacked with shovels by the mob before they were placed in the kiln.

It is believed 32 suspects are still at large. The 106 people charged yesterday were produced before the court in Lahore amid strict security, local media reports said.

Anti-terrorism court judge Haroon Latif proceeded to indict the accused for the couple’s murder of the couple. All pleaded not guilty.

Police say Yousaf Gujjar, the brick kiln owner, and three clerics, Maulvi Mohammad Hussain, Maulvi Arshad Baloch and Maulvi Noorul Hassan made provocative speeches to incite the mob.