Two men acquitted of burning Pakistani Christian couple alive

Two men acquitted of burning Pakistani Christian couple alive

Two men accused of burning a Pakistani Christian couple alive have been cleared of being involved in their deaths.

On Thursday the Lahore High Court acquitted the men in relation to the 2014 killing of Shahzad and Shama Masih in Kot Radha Kishan.

The couple were burned alive in a brick kiln by a frenzied mob of up to 1,000 Muslims who had been incited by announcements made from local mosques alleging their role in the desecration of the Holy  Quran.

The couple were both brick kiln workers and mother of three, Shama, was pregnant at the time of the attack.

After the incident the police registered a case against 660 villagers, and in 2015, an anti-terrorism court indicted 106 suspects.

In November 2016 it convicted five men – Mehdi Khan, Riaz Kambo, Irfan Shakoor, Muhammad Hanif, and local prayer leader Hafiz Ishtiaq – of two counts of death for their involvement in the burning alive of the couple.

Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan headed a two-judge bench hearing appeals filed by Muhammad Hanif and Hafiz Ishtiaq against the verdict.

The appeals of the three others were dismissed and their death sentences were upheld.

A detailed judgement in today’s case is awaited.

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