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Pakistan: Christian couple on death row

July 2019

Saif-ul-Mulook
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The lawyer who supported Asia Bibi has taken up the case of another Pakistani couple who face the death penalty for alleged ‘blasphemy’.

A report from international advocacy organisation, Barnabas Fund, said Saif-ul-Mulook (pictured) is to appeal against the conviction in April 2014 of Shafqat Emmanuel and Shagufta Kausar.

The couple, who have four children, were convicted of sending ‘blasphemous’ text messages to two Muslims, one of whom was the prayer leader at the mosque in their hometown Gojra, Punjab. The text came from a mobile phone registered in Shagufta’s name but that she had lost.

They were accused under Pakistan’s draconian blasphemy laws, fined Rs100,000 each (£600) and sentenced to death, but the couple are illiterate and have claimed they were incapable of sending the messages.

The couple’s previous lawyer, Nadeem Hassan, told Morning Star News back in 2014 there was no concrete evidence against the couple, and that the police had tortured Shafqat, who is confined to a wheelchair owing to a spinal injury, to force a confession.

In the latest update from Barnabas Fund, their new lawyer Saif-ul-Mulook has maintained the couple are innocent and did not receive a fair trial.