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Mukhtar Masih and his son Anjum Masih after he was granted release on bail.
A Pakistani Christian man who was arrested for an alleged blasphemy on 28th January this year has died today at the age of 70. Mukhtar Masih was granted bail in May of this year and had a real chance of overturning his false charges (click here), however his premature death means that he and his family will never have the chance to clear his name.
Mukhtar Masih was taken to Bagh Christian Hospital in Mansehra on the 2nd November 2017 after complaining about pain in the abdomen and died suddenly the same day. Later doctors undertook an autopsy and declared death by gastro-intestinal bleeding (ruptured ulcer in the stomache).
The family are now calling for his name to be cleared of any charge because they believe their father died under a false accusation, that has left them vulnerable and despised by Muslims, despite his innocence.
Mehwish Bhatti, lead officer for the BPCA in Pakistan, said:
"It is with great regret that I share this news as we were extremely confident that Mukhtar would be exonerated and that his reputation would once again become unsullied.
"His distraught family have expressed great disappointment that Mukhtar Masih died with charges of blasphemy over his head. We are challenging our local MP's to call for a posthumous exoneration for a man who did not commit any crime. Mukhtar's only offence was the hurt he apparently caused to Muslims for adhering to the Christian faith."
Mukhtar Masih was arrested on Saturday 28th January 2017 after a letter containing blasphemous messages was pinned to the door of a local mosque, in his home village of Lambanwali near Gujranwala. Mukhtar insisted he was innocent of the crime and expressed that any language expert could recognize that the writing on the letter was not his. Morever he also maintained that no Christian in Pakistan would be foolish enough to take such a risk with his life.
However, police at Rahwali Cantt station chose to ignore his claims and other mitigating evidence, in preference of the Muslim witnesses who attested to Mukhtar's crime. This is because in Sharia law a Christian cannot testify against a Muslim so Mukhtar's testimony had no value.
Read full story (click here)