A Pakistani court has sentenced five men to death over the killing of a married Christian couple burned to death inside a brick kiln by a Muslim mob after they were falsely accused of desecrating a copy of the Quran in 2014.
An anti-terrorism court in Lahore on Wednesday sentenced the five men to death by hanging for murdering Shahzad Masih, 26, and his 24-year-old, five months-pregnant wife, Shama, in Kot Radha Kishan in November 2014.
Although it was believed that hundreds of Muslims were involved in the ruthless mob murder and at least 103 people were arrested and charged for the crime, the anti-terror court acquitted 90 people on Wednesday, including the owner of the brick kiln, the man believed to be behind the false blasphemy claim, Yousaf Gujjar.
Additionally, eight others were sentenced to serve two years in prison for their involvement in the couple’s lynching.
There is no timetable yet for when the death sentences will be carried out.
“The five people awarded the death sentence were involved in dragging, beating and burning the couple while the other eight played a supportive role, according to the judgement,” Riaz Anjum, the lawyer representing the victims’ family, said, according to The Express Tribune.
Although it took over two years, the ruling and convictions signify that at least some justice has finally been served for those guilty of killing the Christian couple. However, the family is devastated that more people were not convicted.
“I am disappointed with today’s result as my eldest daughter, Yasmeen, who saw the whole incident, witnessed at least 15 men involved in the brutal violence against my daughter, Shama, and her husband, Shahzad,” Mukhtar Masih told the London-based charity British Pakistani Christian Association.
“Only five of those men have been convicted with a death sentence yet the other poured kerosene over Shama and Shahzad and were also violent,” he added. “Two years imprisonment for those who were involved in lesser capacity for a crime that lead to two deaths seems too lenient.”
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SOURCE: The Christian Post