Suspect in Lahore blasphemy case fighting for his life
Date Written: 03/03/2018
Year Published: 2018
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX22836
A Christian resident of Lahore says he attempted suicide as interrogators forced him to perform oral sex on cousin.
Patras Masih is accused of having shared an allegedly blasphemous image on a Facebook messenger group, depicting a man standing with his foot placed on the dome of a mosque resembling the Masjid-e-Nabvi, an Islamic holy site.
Pakistan's blasphemy laws prescribe a mandatory death penalty for anyone found guilty of "defiling the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad".
Recent years have seen increasing violence associated with the laws, with at least 74 people killed in attacks motivated by blasphemy accusations since 1990, according to an Al Jazeera tally.
Christians and other minorities, who make up about two percent of Pakistan's 207 million population, are disproportionately targeted by the laws, prosecution data shows.
Patras, a sweeper at a local bank branch, surrendered himself voluntarily to authorities on the night of February 19, hours after the mob attacked, his father Inderias Masih told Al Jazeera.
Days later, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) officials summoned Sajid to their headquarters in Lahore, demanding access to his mobile phone, his lawyer and FIA officials said.
Sajid went to the headquarters and handed over his phone upon arrival, his lawyer Aneeqa Maria told Al Jazeera.
Hours later, still in FIA custody, Sajid Masih threw himself out of a fourth-floor window during a forensic examination of his phone, in an attempt to commit suicide.