Christian Couple’s appeal Delayed, Six years after Death Sentence in Pakistan

There has been delay in the appeal of Christian couple Shagufta Kausar and her husband, Shafqat Emmanuel who were arrested on April 2015 and sentenced to death for blasphemy.

The couple who are partially paralyzed were arrested after Good Friday prayer at the Saint Anthony Church in Lahore, Pakistan over the allegation by Maulvi Mohammed Hussain a leader at a mosque in the town of Gojra in Punjab province for sending a text message insulting the Islamic prophet Muhammad.

The Local Imam claimed that Emmanuel used his wife’s cellphone to send an anti-Islamic text message. He later claimed other messages followed while he was praying.

Christian post reported that the Muslim cleric reportedly showed the text message to two other imams before approaching his counsel for legal proceedings. He and his lawyer later claimed they both received subsequent blasphemous messages.

Police registered the blasphemy case following the imam’s complaint, and the couple were arrested on July 21, 2013. They were charged with “insulting the Quran” and “insulting the prophet.”

They were sentenced to separate prisons in 2014.

According to some reports, “[Kauser] is being held in the same prison cell Asia Bibi was held in before her release,” Will Stark, regional manager for South Asia at International Christian Concern, told The Christian Post on Wednesday.

“In regards to Shafqat, his medical condition has deteriorated significantly during his imprisonment,” Stark added. “This is because the jail does not provide facilities for him, as someone partially paralyzed. Bedsores and lack of nutrition are definitely issues I have seen reported specifically in regards to Shafqat’s case.”

According to the BBC, a final hearing before the Lahore High Court was scheduled for Wednesday. However, the hearing was delayed and a new hearing date will be announced.

Kausar’s brother, Joseph, told the BBC that his sister and her husband are not only innocent, but he believes they aren’t even literate enough to have written the text messages. Read more story at Christian Post.

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