Death row appeal of Pakistani Christian couple imprisoned for blasphemy delayed after 6 years

by Bryan Brammer · Jun 4th, 2020 1:21 pm

After six years in prison, a Pakistani Christian couple sentenced to death on blasphemy charges in 2014 has had their High Court appeal delayed.

Shagufta Kausar and her husband, Shafqat Emmanuel, were convicted of sending blasphemous text messages to Maulvi Mohammed Hussain, a leader at a mosque in Punjab province, in 2013.

The imam showed the messages to two other Muslim clerics, who both claimed they had received blasphemous messages as well, Hussain's lawyer reported.

Local police registered the case and arrested the couple on July 21, 2013, on charges of "insulting the Quran" and "insulting the prophet." They were sentenced to separate prisons the following year.

Kausar's brother, Joseph, claims his sister and her husband are innocent. Although the text messages were sent from a phone registered under Kausar's name, they were typed in English — a language unfamiliar to the couple.

A final hearing before the Lahore High Court was scheduled for Wednesday but was delayed for unknown reasons. The hearing has been postponed to June 22.


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