Blasphemy Conviction of Two Christians Upheld by Pakistani Court

August 7, 2003

VOM News, Lahore, Pakistan--A Pakistani 
court has upheld the conviction of two Christians 
accused of committing blasphemy against the 
Islamic holy book.

The Voice of the Martyrs has learned the 
Lahore High Court has agreed with prosecution 
arguments that Amjad and Asif Masih set fire to 
a copy of the Koran while detained at a police 
station in February 1999.The court stated that, 
"The act of the accused was calculated to out-
rage the religious feelings of the Muslim(s)." The 
court also said, "There is not even a remote 
possibility that the police officials who were all 
Muslims could willfully dare or even think of 
desecrating the Holy Quran in the manner it was 
done."

Amjad and Asif were originally arrested under a 
false charge of vagrancy. They claim Muslim 
police officers framed them and set fire to the 
Islamic holy book because the two street 
sweepers refused to pay them a $300 bribe.

The two Christians received life sentences--the 
maximum penalty for desecration of the Koran 
under Pakistan's 295-B blasphemy law.

Amjad's wife Kauser works as a maidservant 
earning only $16 U.S. per month to support their 
four young children. The Voice of the Martyrs is 
helping to pay the school fees of the children, 
including 4-year old Sundas, the daughter 
Amjad has never met. The assistance provided 
to Amjad's family is coming from VOM's 
Families of Martyrs fund.

Amjad and Asif are expected to appeal the 
Lahore court decision to Pakistan's Supreme 
Court. The Supreme Court has regularly 
reversed the blasphemy case rulings of lower 
courts that are often threatened by radical 
Islamic groups to uphold false blasphemy 
convictions.

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