Lahore (Staff Report/Agencies): The Lahore High Court on Thursday acquitted two people sentenced to death for their alleged involvement in the lynching and burning alive of a Christian couple who were accused of blasphemy in Kot Radha Kishan in 2014.
A two-member LHC bench led by Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan announced thee previously reserved verdict. The court also dismissed appeals by the three other convicts and upheld their death sentences.
Shahzad and Shama were burned alive in a brick kiln by a frenzied lynch mob ─ incited by announcements made from mosques in the area ─ ranging between 400-1,000 people for their alleged role in the desecration of the Holy Quran in Nov 2014.
Both husband and wife were brick kiln workers, and the woman, a mother of three, was pregnant at the time. Police had registered a case against 660 villagers after the incident.
In November 2016, an anti-terrorism court had sentenced to death five convicts – a cleric Hafiz Ishtiaq, Mehdi Khan, Riaz Kambo, Irfan Shakoor and Muhammad Hanif – for the lynching of a Christian couple, Shahzad Masih and Shama Bibi.
Of the five convicts, the LHC accepted Hanif and the cleric Ishtiaq’s appeals against their death sentence and ordered their acquittal.
The ATC had also awarded two-year jail terms to eight other convicts for aiding and abetting the crime; Muhammad Hussain, Noorul Hasan, Muhammad Arsalan, Muhammad Haris, Muhammad Muneer, Muhammad Ramazan, Irfan and Hafiz Shahid.