The next Asia Bibi – Shagufta Kauser faces execution

Jul 23, 2019 by

PETITION from Caroline Farrow, CitizenGo:

Asia Bibi may have been released but did you know that her old prison cell is being occupied by another persecuted Christian woman, who like Asia has been injustly imprisoned for 5 years on fake blasphemy charges and who also faces the death penalty?!

The woman’s name is Shagufta Kauser and she and her disabled husband Shafqat Masih are accused of sending blasphemous text messages to a Muslim cleric despite the fact that both of them are illiterate. Not only that, but the text messages were written in English – a language that neither or them speak and nor do they have any knowledge of alphanumeric symbols!

Like so many Christians in Pakistan, the family come from a poor background which makes them an easy target – prior to her arrest Shagufta worked as a cleaner at the church compound where she lived with her husband and 4 young children. She was the only breadwinner as her husband was paralysed from the waist down following an accident in 2004. 

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The prosecutors have been unable to provide any evidence pointing to this couple’s guilt. A sim card produced at the trial was found to be bogus and there is no mobile phone which would link the couple to the messages. 

The treatment of Shagufta’s husband has been particularly inhumane. He was tortured at the local police station in order to exact a confession which he has now retracted, claiming that he only made it to save his wife from being subjected to the same treatment. His jailers seem unwilling or unable to cater for his disability, he is confined to a prison bed unable to move and according to a recent doctor’s report, his back is covered with bed sores leaving him at serious risk of a fatal infection. 

This is in clear breach of his human rights. 

Sign here: http://www.citizengo.org/en/node/172194

Both Shagufta and Shafqat are suffering from depression having been separated from each other and their children for 6 years.

The couple are being represented by the same brave lawyer who defended Asia Bibi, Saif-ul Malook. Along with condemning the torture which Mr Masih was subjected to, Mr Malook has also expressed concerns that the judge who pronounced the death sentence was intimidated by hardline lawyers and religious leaders in the community. 

There is still a febrile atmosphere and much resentment amongst the community as a result of Asia Bibi’s release, which is going to make it even harder fot he couple to receive a fair trial. 

Shagufta and Shafqat’s  four children who are aged between 9 and 15, are in the care of their paternal aunt and are also now in fear for their lives. The accusation is believed to be motivated by simmering resentment following a dispute they had with the children of the Muslim cleric, 8 months prior to the sending of the texts. 

Sign here: http://www.citizengo.org/en/node/172194

Britain sends  £383,000 in aid every day to Pakistan which is supposed to alleviate the suffering and destitution of beleaguered minorities. Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are often used by Muslims to target Christians and Hindus. 

Please sign this petition asking Jeremy Hunt to intervene and secure the immediate release of Shagufta and Shafqat. 

Yours sincerely 

Caroline Farrow and the entire team at CitizenGO

PS You can read more about the case of this couple here. Please sign to get them released and theem and their family to a place of safety. 

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