The European Center for Law and Justice’s (ECLJ) affiliate in Pakistan, the Organization for Legal Aid (OLA), is representing the family of Liaqat Masih, a Christian man who was brutally tortured and murdered by local police for supposedly stealing property from his Muslim employer, Raza Hameed. The police also tortured Liaqat’s son, Khurram, who gave our office in Pakistan an eyewitness account of the events that occurred.
Raza and his father, S.A Hameed, are prominent Muslim businessmen and political leaders in their community. Raza’s house was robbed while he and his family were out of town. Raza lodged a complaint with the local police against unknown persons, but later falsely accused some of his servants, including Liaqat (who was Raza’s driver) and Liaqat’s son Khurram. False reports by Muslims against Christian servants, employees, and coworkers are all too common in Pakistan.
The police arrested and started interrogating the two Christian men.
Police in Pakistan have been known to torture suspects, especially in theft cases, to obtain confessions and the whereabouts of the stolen property.
After questioning them verbally, four police officials stripped Khurram naked, tied him up, and beat him. After failing to force Khurram to confess, the policemen brought in his father. Khurram was in the room when the policemen ordered Liaqat to take off his clothes, made him stand on a chair, tied his hand behind his back, and hung him from the ceiling, dislocating his shoulders. Two men, who were holding the rope with which Liaqat was hung, would pull the rope each time when Liaqat’s feet would touch the floor, Khurram told us.
Since neither of them had stolen the property, they would not confess. The interrogators relentlessly continued their assault. Khurram said that both he and his father kept pleading for mercy and telling the police that they had not stolen anything, but the policemen kept beating his father with wooden logs until he died.
After torturing Liaqat for over an hour, the policemen noticed that Liaqat was not breathing. They took him down and let him lie in his own urine. Each would check his pulse and then whisper something to the others, Khurram added.
Khurram was then released from police custody while Liaqat’s body was taken to a hospital for an autopsy. After a team of doctors performed the autopsy, they concluded that he died of a heart attack and failed to record his numerous bruises or dislocated shoulders.
After observing the blatant injustice that occurred, by both the police and the doctors, the Christian community united to mourn and protest peacefully in the streets. The local police who were ordered to break up the protest used violence, injuring men, women, and children in the process.
After helping the family with Liaqat’s funeral arrangements, our affiliate began to gather relevant details. We have filed a petition in the court for a second autopsy under the supervision of a magistrate. We are also preparing an application to be filed with the health department against the doctors who performed the original autopsy. We will continue to update you as progress is made.
We must continue standing up for the persecuted Church in Pakistan. Working to stop corruption and seek justice on behalf of the oppressed is some of the most important work we do. Stand with us as we stand up for our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ, and continue to join us in advocating for the release of Christian mom Asia Bibi, who is on death row in Pakistan for her Christian faith.
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