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Pakistani Christian death row inmate awaits appeal hearing

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Blasphemy convict Pakistani Christian Sawan Masih awaits justice as his appeal case is due to be herd by the Lahore High Court on November 27. He has been on death row since 2014, after accusations of committing blasphemy were leveled against him. His case remained in the limelight as Badami Bagh arson budded from it.

Blasphemy cases against Pakistani Christians

On March 9, 2013 Shahid Imran a non-Christian friend of Sawan Masih accused him of committing blasphemy. Consequently, an FIR was registered and Section 295-C was invoked against him. He was tried in the jail and in March 2014 the judge handed him Capital punishment. Sawan Masih father of three has consistently maintained his innocence since being accused of blasphemy. He claimed that the accusations were fabricated.

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“We will appeal the sentence in the Lahore High Court,” Sawan Masih’s lawyer said at that time. An appeal was filed against his death punishment. On November 27, his appeal is scheduled to be heard by the divisional bench before the Lahore High Court.

The case is notoriously remembered as a charged mob of about 3,000 men attacked Lahore’s Joseph Colony – a predominantly Christian neighborhood. This attack was a reprisal to Sawan Masih’s alleged blasphemy. Sawan Masih resided in Joseph Colony, and the mobsters looted Christians’ houses, shops and churches afterwards set them on fire.

No less than 180 houses, 75 shops, and 2 churches were set on fire. The police stood as spectators while the vandals were ransacking and torching Christians’ houses. Sensing the looming attack by radicals, Christian residents of Joseph Colony fled from their homes therefore no one was killed in this arson.

The alleged mobsters were arrested by the police, who were tried by the anti-terrorism court. However, last year an anti-terrorism court acquitted very one of suspects accused of involved in the Joseph Colony arson. Sawan Masih is still behind the bars awaiting justice.