London: (By Hannah Chowdhry and Juliet Chowdhry) A former illiterate Christian orphan – the only surviving member of his family, after his 10
Court delays prevent seemingly inevitable acquittal of Nabeel Masih who was 16 when imprisoned for blasphemy
Lahore: Nabeel Masih (now 20 yrs) Pakistan's youngest ever blasphemy victim was released from prison through the work of British Asian Christian Association on 18th of March. By this time he had already spent more than fours years of his life in Kasur District Jail. Read more (here).
Since that date British Asian Christian Association have continued the necessary legal work to obtain his acquittal and have also helped with necessary medical treatment to resolve health conditions that arose, while he was isolated in a decrepit cell.
We update you on the current legal timeline since our last article:
2nd June 2021- Judge replaced by Miss Farida Ijaz meaning arguments could not be furnished. This was fortunate for the complainants solicitors as they failed to appear in court. The assistant to the complainant counsel had arrived and made a faux pas in seeking another date for hearing before announcement of change in judge. A new date was set for 13th June 2021.
Miss Farida Ijaz ordered for the arguments to be furnished at next hearing.
13th June 2021- Another lawyers strike [At least one occurs every year] and the complainant counsel openly refused to argue. Next hearing for arguments was fixed for 2nd July.
2nd July 2021 – Again the complainant counsel refused to argue due to lawyers strike. A next hearing date has been fixed.
Irrespective of the delays listed above British Asian Christian Association’s solicitor, Naseeb Anjum is hopeful for Nabeel’s acquittal, he said:
“The Complainant counsel is intentionally delaying the argument.
“It seems to me that the complainant counsel lacks any substantial argument to convict Nabeel Masih who was made to suffer more than four years in prison wrongfully”
Even then, Nabeel’s family is deeply concerned about his safety when travelling to court for hearings. His father, Amanat Masih, said:
“A day before Nabeel’s hearing, we stay in prayer and fasting for the safety of Nabeel and British Asian Christian Association’s team.
“We also pray to Christ to soften the heart of the Judge to decide Nabeel’s case on merit.
“We even pray for the haters who seek the death of my son, that their eyes might open and their minds no longer be deceived.
"May God reveal himself to them”
Juliet Chowdhry, Trustee for the British Asian Christian Association, said:
"Nabeel is innocent but has been detained in a prison cell for 4 years without a conviction.
"It is deeply frustrating for us if not soul-sapping that the Pakistani Judicial system is so prejudiced and corrupt that he has not yet been totally exonerated.
"Little has changed despite several political swings in the country, each new party maintains the anti-minority national bias.
"With many judges and police officers/authorities holding such aversion to minorities too, expect to see more of the same in the future.
"We retain hope that Nabeel will be acquitted, but so many years of his young life under such a burden of hate will no doubt have long term implications.
"Please pray for young Nabeel Masih."
If you have been moved by this story and would like to help us support Nabeel and his family and many other Christian families subjected to undue persecution in Pakistan.
If you are interested in learning more about our work and would like to receive our next next newsletter please join us by subscribing (here). Please note that from August we will be changing our web platform as Adobe Business Catalyst is terminating. So if you are already receiving our e-newsletter and wish to continue receiving them, then please also use the link above to stay in contact with us.
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