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Christian teenager tortured to death

August 2013

A Christian teenager died in police custody in Pakistan after allegedly being severely tortured for six days. Adnan Masih, 18, from Sharaqpur Sharif in the district of Sheikhupura, was arrested on 4 June over the case of a missing young Muslim woman. Muslim youths also rounded up for questioning were released.

His family said he did not even know the woman and was entirely innocent. Yet officers seized mobile phones belonging to him and the woman, finding no record of any communication between them.

Officers then tried to force Adnan to confess to being involved in the woman’s disappearance, allegedly subjecting him to severe torture.

They beat him round the head with an iron rod, cut him with a sharp knife, broke his legs and pulled the nails out of his fingers and toes. After six days of torture, on 10 June, when Adnan was almost dead, his neck was broken and his body hung in the bathroom, with police claiming he had committed suicide.

A local pastor reported the matter to CLAAS, a Christian legal organisation in Pakistan that is supported by the Barnabas Fund. CLAAS sent an investigative team to the Sharaqpur Sharif police station where Adnan died.

Over 4000 local Christians blocked the road in protest, demanding justice and the arrest of those responsible for his death. The CLAAS team succeeded in persuading senior officers to register a First Information Report, which launches a criminal investigation in Pakistan, against three officers.

Adnan’s funeral took place on 11 June, after a post-mortem had been carried out. He was the son of a retired head teacher and had six siblings. Adnan lived with his parents in Sharaqpur Sharif and worked as an air-conditioning and fridge mechanic in Lahore.