Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pakistan: Christian Held for Blasphemy ‘commits suicide’

"Tolerant" Muslims in Pakistan have once again gone on a rampage against Christians there. But hey, lets increase our financial aid to them, because what Muslims do to Christians just does not matter.

Hat tip to The European Alliance.

Christian held for blasphemy ‘commits suicide’

* Provincial minority affairs minister says body bore torture marks
* Asma Jahangir blames police for Fanish Masih’s death

LAHORE: A 25-year-old Christian accused of blasphemy died in a prison early on Tuesday, officials said, with rights activists saying they suspected he was tortured, AFP reported.

About 100 people, mostly youths, attacked a Catholic church in the Sambrial district near the Indian border on Friday after accusing the man, Fanish Masih, of desecrating the holy Quran, police said. Masih was arrested and a case of blasphemy registered against him. “Masih, being accused of blasphemy, was put in a separate cell where he committed suicide by using a string,” Sialkot District Jail Superintendent Farooq Lodhi said.

Torture marks: Punjab Minister for Minority Affairs Kamran Michael said the police had not handled the case properly. “I have seen the body and there were torture marks on it,” the minister said.

Responsibility: “This is death in custody and the police authorities are responsible,” said Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Chairwoman Asma Jahangir.

Meanwhile, a private TV channel reported that Masih’s family had claimed that he was tortured to death by the jail staff. Local Christians snatched the body from the police and shifted it to a private hospital for an autopsy, the channel reported. It said the police inspector general had constituted an inquiry committee to probe the death.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the commission demanded registration of a murder case against police officials concerned.

NCJP Chairman Archbishop Lawrence John Saldanha and Executive Secretary Peter Jacob also urged all sections of the society to realise the danger of the blasphemy laws and said they (laws) had proven to be a very expensive for religious minorities, as the laws were being misused. Minority rights activist Nadeem Anthony said the frequent attacks on minorities, especially Christians, had developed a sense of insecurity among the non-Muslims in the country. afp/staff report/ daily times monitor.

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