CECE HEIL, ACLJ
A trial court in Pakistan has sentenced two Christian brothers to death for blasphemy.
In the recent months, the Organization for Legal Aid (OLA), the Pakistani office of our international affiliate, the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ), has worked diligently to defend Amoon Ayub, one of the two Christian brothers, accused of posting offensive material against Islam on the Internet. Qaiser Ayub, the other brother, is represented by the Centre for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS) in Pakistan.
Our client, Amoon, was falsely accused of helping set up a website containing blasphemous material after a fight broke out between our client’s brother (the co-defendant in this case) and his Muslim friends over one of the friend’s sister. Amoon believes that his brother’s Muslim friends, Zaryab Sheikh and Sheraz Qureshi, must have created the website using his brother’s and his name, address, and phone numbers on the website in retaliation.
During the trial, OLA provided evidence and Amoon’s testimony, completely exonerating Amoon. It was further proven that there was no evidence to tie Amoon to the alleged blasphemous material, as the forensics report did not contain any evidence showing that Amoon’s computer, internet, IP address, or phone line were used in any posting to the website.
Much to our disappointment, on December 13, 2018, Judge Javed Iqbal Bosal declared the Ayub brothers guilty and sentenced them to death for the crime of blasphemy
This judgment stands in complete opposition to the Pakistani Supreme Court’s recent acquittal of Asia Bibi and its powerful statement condemning these types of false accusations. Furthermore, the judgment also seems to ignore the Pakistani government’s reinforcement of the Supreme Court’s ruling as it has arrested hundreds of extremists who violently rioted after the ruling and charged the leaders who instigated the mobs under the anti-terrorism and treason laws.
Unfortunately, here – just like in the case of Asia Bibi – Christians are often falsely accused under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.
The OLA is preparing Amoon’s appeal to be filed in the High Court and we hope that the High Court will follow the Supreme Court and the government in rejecting and denouncing these false accusations. We will continue to keep you updated on any progress with the case and hope that justice will prevail and Amoon will be acquitted.
CeCe Heil is a Senior Counsel specializing in public policy and global legal matters including the United Nations. She heads a team of lawyers handling cases in defense of life, protection of US National Security interests and dealing with Islamic extremism.