Pakistani Christian man to be hanged during Lent

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Pakistani Christian man to be hanged during Lent

Post  Waqar Daniel on Sat 15 Mar 2008, 2:21 am

(Kindly leave everything and Pray for him, thanks)

Pakistani Christians on Friday staged a protest demonstration after March 12, 2008 has been fixed as the date for execution of a Christian man, Zahid Masih, during Lent.

Masih was serving in the Pakistan Army as a janitor. Trouble for him began when he was accused of murdering a 9 year old Muslim boy, Muhammad Adnan. The Sessions court of Peshawar tried Masih and awarded him 14 year rigorous imprisonment in 2005. However, the military court handed him death sentence on March 10, 2006.

Masih was earlier scheduled to be executed on January 30, 2008 but his execution was postponed until February 20, 2008.The Christians of Pakistani city of Multan gathered in front of Press Club Multan and chanted slogans in favour of Masih and against fixing of controversial date for Masih's execution.

« Release Zahid Masih, Respect our fasting month (Lent), » shouted the charged Christians who were standing behind a black banner that was emblazoned with slogans in favour of Zahid Masih. Some of the protesters were holding placards inscribed with demands including reopening of the case in a civil court.

Muslim convicts are not executed in Pakistan during Muslim holy months of Ramadan and Moharram.

« My son is innocent. I have firm faith in Jesus that he will be released. I met him recently and his hands and feet were swollen », said Masih's mother, who burst into tears as she talked about her son.

Masih's family, most of whom are janitors, are living in grinding poverty. They disclosed that they did not know the whereabouts of Masih for a year.

Chief Coordinator of the Sharing Life Ministry Pakistan, Sohail Johnson flayed the controversial date for Masih's execution. He called for reopening of Masih's case in a civil court (criminal trial).

« We will take out protest rallies if Mashi's execution is not halted. » This is from among several incidents of injustice with Christians. Pakistani Christians are treated like sheep and goats, said Sohail who also led the protest demonstration in front of Press Club Multan.

Asked if protests in favour of Masih could deepen Pakistani Muslims' anger, who are staging anti-cartoon protest demonstrations across Pakistan since February 15 this year, following reprinting of caricatures of Prophet Muhammad, he said, he feared backlash from Muslims but vowed to continue raising Masih's voice.

ANS has learnt that the government is mulling over a policy under which death sentence could be commuted to life imprisonment for the convicts who have been behind the bars for 10 years.

Masih's lawyer, Prince Rehan Iftikhar appealed to Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf to turn Masih's death sentence into life imprisonment.

« We request your urgent intervention to halt the execution of Zahid Masih, conduct fair re-investigation and trial in the civil court (criminal trial) and take progressive steps to abolish death penalty, » reads the letter sent to Pakistan President by Masih's lawyer.

The lawyer insisted that military court did not have any right to intervene in the case and award of death sentence by the court had no legal effect under section 403 of Criminal Procedure Code of Pakistan and article 13 of the constitution of Pakistan.

« a) No person shall be prosecuted or punished for the same offence more than once ; or b) Shall, when accused of an offence, be compelled to be a witness against himself, reads article 13 of the constitution of Pakistan. »Not a single statement was recorded from the accused side and Masih was not given his fundamental right to defend himself in the court", he said.

Face2Face International News Service

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Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the LORD Jesus Christ. (Philemon 1:3)


Waqar Daniel
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