LAHORE, Pakistan — A Christian sentenced to death for a blasphemy conviction was acquitted Oct. 5 by a Pakistani high court.
Sawan Masih, a 40-year-old Catholic father of three, was sentenced in 2014 after a Muslim friend accused him in 2013 of blaspheming Islam’s prophet Muhammad. Blasphemy is punishable by imprisonment or death.
The friend’s initial report against Masih included no words of blasphemy, but a supplement filed eight days later did.
In 2013, after a mosque broadcasted the friend’s accusation over a loudspeaker, more than 3,000 Muslims attacked Joseph Colony, a predominately Christian area in Lahore. More than 150 shops, homes and church buildings were burned; Christians fled.
In Lahore High Court, Masih’s defense presented concerns about the police investigation, initial report, supplement and Masih’s death sentence on testimony of only one witness.
In the Oct. 5 acquittal, the court stated the prosecution failed to prove Masih blasphemed.
Pakistan is No. 5 on Open Doors’ 2020 World Watch List of places most difficult to be a Christian.
Share with others: