LAHORE, Pakistan — A Pakistani Christian man was tortured into confessing to false charges of blaspheming Islam and was held illegally for two months.
Salamat Mansha Masih was arrested after a Muslim overheard Masih and friend Haroon Ayub Masih reading the Bible in a Lahore park.
Members of a far-right Islamist political party pressured police to charge the two friends with making derogatory remarks against Mohammad, punishable by death, according to Masih’s attorney. Masih was mentally and physically tortured into confessing, said his attorney. Police threatened to kill Salamat Masih and tortured him into naming others in the Bible study group.
Police also raided other Bible studies, taking members into custody and torturing them, the attorney said.
Masih was not presented to a judge until April 16, even though his court appearance should have been within 24 hours of his Feb. 13 arrest, according to his attorney.
Pakistan is No. 5 on Open Doors’ 2021 World Watch List of places most difficult to be a Christian.