This is the latest installment of our year-end victories series looking back at some of the numerous victories by the ACLJ in 2019.
The ACLJ vigilantly defends Christians from sickening, unjust religious persecution around the globe.
This year, through our international affiliate, the European Centre for Law and Justice’s (ECLJ) office in Pakistan, the Organization for Legal Aid (OLA), we achieved another victory for religious freedom.
A Christian man, Saleem Masih, was falsely accused of burning pages of the Quran, a crime punishable with life imprisonment under Pakistan’s archaic blasphemy laws.
Perhaps making it even worse, Saleem was falsely accused of the offense by his own family members, Muhammad Bilal and Ayesha, who had converted from Christianity to Islam. It was apparently a nasty family clash, involving religious conversion in order to obtain divorce which led to the fabricated charges.
The day after her conversion to Islam, Ayesha filed a false petition against Saleem’s family alleging that she’d been beaten and robbed. The official police investigation stated that the “facts narrated in the petition are false as no such occurrence took place.”
Bilal later filed a new complaint under a Pakistan Penal Code regarding defiling the Quran. Bilal alleged that, after he converted to Islam and married his brother’s wife, Ayesha, his family was displeased. Bilal and Ayesha stated their home had been broken into, and pages from a copy of the Quran had been torn out and burned. Ayesha accused Saleem of robbing them and defiling their Quran.
Once our attorneys on the ground became of aware of Saleem’s predicament, and investigated, they filed for his bail. We argued that 1) Saleem was targeted in the blasphemy case due to mala fide intention (bad faith), 2) that the police had violated the required procedure in filing the charges, and 3) that none of the “witnesses” had actually seen Saleem defiling the Quran.
The prosecutor had no counter-argument, and the court granted bail, stating that no direct evidence was available to show that Saleem had even entered the house or committed the alleged crimes. The Christian man Saleem is now out free on bail.
To help the ACLJ continue to have the resources we need to fight vigilantly to defend religious freedom around the globe, protect our Christian brothers and sisters from persecution for their faith, and make more victories like these possible, please consider making a Tax-Deductible donation to the ACLJ through our year-end Matching Challenge. Your gift will be DOUBLED dollar-for-dollar through the end of the year.
You can read more in the ACLJ’s 2019 Victories Series here.
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