Lawyer Saif-ul-Malook says he is "very happy" with the release of Shagufta Kausar and Shafqat Emmanuel.
The case of a Christian couple, Shagufta Kausar and Shafqat Emmanuel, had been defended by the European Parliament on April 29th. Accused of blasphème due to allegedly sent text messages, the couple had been sentenced to death over seven years ago. The High Court of Lahore comes fromquash the conviction by Shagufta Kausar and Shafqat Emmanuel. They were acquitted lack of evidence.
The announcement was made on Twitter by Saif-ul-Malook, their lawyer, famous for also defending Asia Bibi.
Shafqat and Shaghufta acquitted today
- Saif-ul-malook (@ Saifulm32731039) June 3, 2021
THEFrance Media Agency quotes the lawyer on the announcement of the verdict:
“I am very happy that we were able to secure the release of this couple, who are among the most powerless people in our society. "
Dinushika Dissanayake, Deputy Director ofAmnesty International for South Asia celebrates this decision which "ends the seven-year ordeal of a couple who should not have been sentenced or sentenced to death in the first place."
“This case is sadly emblematic of the harassment, intimidation and attacks that those accused of 'blasphemy' regularly face and highlights the urgent need to repeal the law. "
William Stark, Regional Director ofInternational Christian Concern, is delighted with this acquittal after 8 years spent by the couple in prison, but remains concerned "for the safety of the Christian couple and their family".
“Extremists in Pakistan have been known to target individuals accused of religious crimes, such as blasphemy, even after they have been acquitted. The abuse of Pakistani blasphemy laws must be cracked down and false allegations must be stamped out and punished. Too often, these laws have been a tool in the hands of extremists seeking to fuel religiously motivated violence against minorities. Without reform, religious minorities will continue to face false accusations of blasphemy and the violence that often accompanies such accusations. "
The couple had been accused of sending Blasphemous SMS in English, a language that neither member of the couple speaks. The phone and the SIM card allegedly used to send the text messages were never found by the Pakistani police.
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