A Pakistani Christian couple has been sentenced to death after being tortured into confessing to sending texts that allegedly blasphemed Islam.
The Christian Post reports that in 2013 Shafqat Emmanuel and his wife, Shagufta Kausar were accused of sending the blasphemous texts by a local imam, Maulvi Mohammed Hussain. Hussain alleged that Emmanuel had used Kauser’s cellphone to send him a text that blasphemed the Prophet Mohammed.
Emmanuel said that neither he nor his wife sent any such texts, but he was forced to confess that he had because his wife was being tortured.
"There is no man who can stand to see his wife being tortured by police," Emmanuel told lawyers from aid organizations. "So to save my wife, I confessed."
The couple has appealed their case at the Lahore High Court. Emmanuel is seeking bail due to his deteriorating health.
Farukh Saif, an official from the World Vision in Progress, said that there is no proof that the Christian couple sent the imam any texts. However, the cellphone allegedly used to send the texts was stolen from them and the SIM card was not registered under their names.
Although measures have been taken to decrease the severity of punishment for blasphemy in Pakistan, not much progress has been made.
Publication date: February 19, 2016