Three's a Trend? Blasphemy Death Sentence Dropped for Another Pakistan Christian
The International Herald-Tribune reports that a Pakistani court has acquitted yet another Christian of a previous blasphemy conviction–nearly six years after the man was sentenced to death.
Younis Masih was arrested in September 2005 following a riot in which he was accused of "[committing] blasphemy and [uttering] derogatory remarks against Muhammad, the prophet of Islam."
However, Masih's lawyers argued that there was "'no direct evidence against Younis Masih and that the case was based on hearsay.'" World Watch Monitor offers more details on the acquittal.
More good news for Christians came in Lahore, where the Supreme Court was "irked" by the Punjab government's admission that police did little to stop Muslim arsonists who attacked a Christian community there in March.
But according to Morning Star News, "Only a few hours after Pakistan's Supreme Court rebuked Punjab Police for only observing arsonists [in Lahore's riot] last month, police allowed Muslims to attack Christians of Francis Colony in Gujranwala, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Lahore." At least five people were injured.
CT previously has reported on high-profile blasphemy cases against Christians in Pakistan, including two other recent acquittals. The chance of acquittal is raising hopes that an appeals court might rule in favor of Asia Bibi, the first Pakistani woman to receive a death sentence for blasphemy.
In 2010, CT editorialized on Pakistan's blasphemy law after two high-profile Pakistani politicians were assassinated for using her case to seek reforms.