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Christians in Pakistan freed after 14 months in jailcomment (0)

January 7, 2010

FAISALABAD, Pakistan — A Christian in Faisalabad district and his 20-year-old daughter were released Dec. 14 after 14 grueling months in jail on false charges of blaspheming the Quran.

Khalil Tahir, attorney for Gulsher Masih and his daughter Ashyana Gulsher, said the case was typical of the way Pakistan’s blasphemy laws can be used to harass innocent Christians. “Christians are the soft targets, and most of the people implicated in these inhumane laws are Christians,” he said. “We Christians are fighting for the same noble goal — to provide justice to the victims of blasphemy laws.”

Masih said inmates beat him at least five times since he was arrested Oct. 23, 2008. His daughter was arrested two weeks earlier, on Oct. 10.

“These long 14 months seemed like ages,” Masih said. “There was one inmate, Ghulam Fareed, a rich man, who always harassed me, trying to coerce me to convert to Islam by saying he would make me rich and would send me abroad.”

 Fareed, who also promised high-quality education for Masih’s children, joined with Islamic extremists jailed for terrorist acts to beat him in an effort to force him to “come into the fold of Islam,” Masih said. While in jail, he said his wife told him that their daughter had been beaten several times by the superintendent of police.

“During cross examination, I proved that the whole case was concocted, frivolous and fake and that charges against the accused Christian brother were unfounded,” Tahir said.

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