Blasphemy: Pakistan court upholds death sentence of Christian brothers

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The death sentence placed on two Christian brothers charged with blasphemy has been upheld by the Lahore High Court in Pakistan’s Punjab province.

The brothers, Qaisar and Amon Ayub, were accused of posting blasphemous content on a blog. However, they insisted that they never created such contents on the blog.

In 2011, a Muslim man, Muhammad Saeed, had made the allegation that the brothers posted blasphemous contents on the blog. However, Qaisar said that they had closed down the blog in 2009 but it was later restored by one of his Muslim friends. The brothers were later arrested in 2014.

The trial court found the brothers guilty of blasphemy in December 2018. Also, Additional Sessions Judge, Javed Iqbal Bosal, sentenced them to death with a fine of $500 (100,000 rupees). 

Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS), an interdenominational UK-based aid agency that is standing for the accused, said in a statement on the recent court judgment that the brothers were sad and could not fight back tears.

However, the legal counsel has submitted an appeal to the Lahore High Court against the brothers’ death sentence. In a statement by the director of CLAAS-UK, Nasir Saeed, he said that the brothers are already suffering from health issues. He is also hopeful there will be a turnaround in the decision of the court.

Saeed said, “We all were hoping that because the court had reserved the verdict, and because they were taking so long to announce it, blasphemy charges against them would be dropped and both would be freed. Both brothers were looking weak as they are already suffering from health issues.

 “The brothers have signed the power of attorney, we are taking this case to the Pakistan Supreme court and are very hopeful that justice will be done and they will be freed. Unfortunately, we cannot tell how long it will take but we are hopeful that the country’s highest court will do justice.”

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