Pakistan: Pastor Released on Bail After Mistaken Blasphemy Accusation

Religion Today

Pakistan: Pastor Released on Bail After Mistaken Blasphemy Accusation


In a rare instance in Pakistan, a judge granted bail to a pastor accused of blaspheming Islam because the complainant admitted that he had mistakenly accused him, Morning Star News reports. Karma Patras, a 55-year-old pastor of Bado Malhi, Sangla Hill, had been languishing in Sheikhupura District Jail since October after preaching on Jesus' sacrifice at a funeral attended mainly by Christians. Some Muslims present thought he was speaking against the Islamic animal slaughter ritual observed at the time, and Patras was confused when police showed up at his home later that day and arrested him on charges of defaming Islam. Victims of false accusations of blasphemy in Pakistan usually spend months in jail without trial, and then many more months after conviction; if charges are dismissed, it does not usually happen until cases reach appeal, as most trial judges cannot withstand the pressure of furious Islamic extremists. Retraction of an accusation is also rare in Pakistan. "Patras' release is the rarest instance of a complainant in a blasphemy case retracting his statement," one attorney said.

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