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Pakistan acquits Christian couple on death row


Pakistani lawyer Saiful Malook leaves the Supreme court with a bodyguard in Islamabad, Pakistan, in October 2018. Associated Press/ Photo by B.K. Bangash

Pakistan acquits Christian couple on death row

A Pakistani appeals court on Thursday overturned the death sentence of a Christian couple facing blasphemy charges based on accusations they insulted Muhammad, the founder of Islam. Shagufta Kausar and her husband, Shafqat Emmanuel, remained in two separate prisons since their conviction in 2014. The couple will likely be released next week, said their lawyer Saiful Malook, who also defended Pakistani Christian Asia Bibi.

What did they do? Authorities detained the couple in 2013 after they were accused of sending a blasphemous text message to a local cleric. The couple argued they were not literate enough to send the message. Accusations of blasphemy often incite riots and lynchings in Pakistan. Amnesty International’s South Asia director, Dinushika Dissanayake, welcomed the acquittal and urged authorities to protect the couple and the lawyer.

Dig deeper: Read my World Tour report on Asia Bibi finding freedom.


Onize Ohikere

Onize is WORLD’s Africa reporter and deputy global desk chief. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate and earned a journalism degree from Minnesota State University–Moorhead. Onize resides in Abuja, Nigeria.

@onize_ohiks

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