Lahore High Court has acquitted Shafqat Emmanuel and his wife Shagufta Kausar, two Christians sentenced to death under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.
According to International Christian Concern, the acquittals end a nearly eight-year legal struggle that saw the Christian couple jailed separately on death row.
After the acquittal, the couple’s lawyer, Saif-ul-Malook, said, ‘I am just happy to get justice for this couple.’
The case against them focused on text messages, purportedly sent by the Christian couple, containing blasphemy against Mohammed.
But the couple say their accuser was motivated by a minor quarrel between the couple’s children and their neighbours.
They believe their National Identity Cards were stolen and used to purchase SIM cards make it appear they had sent the text messages.
Police were unable to recover the SIM card or the phone allegedly used to send the blasphemous text messages.
The blasphemous messages were also written in English, a language which the couple cannot speak.
In Pakistan, false accusations of blasphemy are common and often motivated by personal vendettas or religious hatred.
Accusations are highly inflammatory and have the potential to spark mob lynchings, vigilante murders, and mass protests.