Police in Muslim-majority Pakistan tortured a 9-year-old Christian boy accused of burning the Quran while he and his mother were detained for four days, reveals the London-based charity British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA).
In a move described as unprecedented by the charity, the Pakistani authorities dropped the blasphemy charges against them after some human rights activists and politicians in the country intervened and joined forces to secure their release four days after they were arrested on October 21.
They “narrowly escaped a blasphemy law death sentence,” notes the BPCA.
On October 21, the boy, identified as Izhan, “and his mother Shakil, who works as a nurse at a nearby hospital, were arrested without the police conducting an investigation into the allegations provided by a Muslim witness,” reports the Christian Post (CP), citing the BPCA.
“A Muslim witness is given higher authority than non-Muslim testimonies under sharia law, these are Islamic laws that determine Pakistani law,” explains the London charity.
BPCA identifies the child and his mother by one name only. Pakistani police arrested Izhan soon after being accused of setting Islam’s holy book ablaze on October 20 in Quetta, the capital of Pakistan’s Balochistan province.
Terrorism experts have described the provincial capital as an Afghan Taliban stronghold in Pakistan. Balochistan borders southern Afghanistan, also a Taliban bastion.
BPCA reports that the mother and child “have expressed in no uncertain terms that they had been interrogated and suffered torture during their 4 day detainment.”
“However despite their treatment they both did not confess to the crime of blasphemy,” it adds. “Moreover, Police have confirmed that no evidence of any alleged [Quran] desecration was found.”
Pakistani lawmakers and the leadership of the Sunni political party Jamiat Ulema Islam (F) played a significant role in revoking the charges against the boy and his mother, reports the Pakistan Christian Post, securing their release.
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SOURCE: EDWIN MORA