Christian Couple Cleared of Blasphemy Charge
ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN – A Christian couple in Pakistan sentenced to life imprisonment for blasphemy have been cleared on appeal.
The parents of six children, Munir Masih and his wife Ruqqiya Bibi were acquitted May 17 following a three-and-a-half year appeal.
The couples were first charged in December 2008 following an argument between their children and Muslim children after the Muslim father accused the Christian parents of blasphemy under section 295-B of the Pakistan Penal Code: desecration of the Qu’ran.
Pakistan’s infamous blasphemy laws are often used by Muslims to settle personal disputes; non-Muslims are helpless against any false accusations since there are never any penalties for the Muslim accuser(s).
Although the prosecution couldn’t produce any witnesses, the couple were still convicted and given a mandatory life sentence. After Munir made bail in November 2010, Ruqqiya remained in custody; after the acquittal, she thanked God with a quote from Psalm 94: “But the Lord has become my fortress, and my God the rock in whom I take refuge.”
The couples were assisted throughout their legal ordeal by the Center for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement, which is supported by Barnabas Aid; CLAAS helped with their legal defense, provided basic needs and even arranged for their children to visit Munir in prison.
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