05/22/2015, 00.00
PAKISTAN
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Pakistan: 106 people on trial for the lynching of a Christian couple, accused of blasphemy

An anti-terrorism court has indicted them for murder. Hundreds of people stoned to death and then burned alive Sajjad Masih and his wife Shama. The woman, pregnant with her fifth child, was accused of setting fire to pages of the Koran.

Islamabad (AsiaNews) - An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan has decided to indict 106 people for murder, responsible for the lynching and murder of a Christian couple, which took place last year in the province of Punjab.

 Sajjad Masih, 28, and his wife Shama, 25, were beaten and then burned alive after being accused of blasphemy. The defendants on trial include three Muslim clerics, responsible for having incited the crowd to violence against the victims. Another 32 suspects are still at large.

When the judges handed down the charges against them, the defendants denied responsibility. They include Yousaf Gujjar, owner of the brick factory where the lynching took place and employer of the couple.

On November 4, 2014 a crowd of over 400 people stoned Shahzad and Shama Masih, and then burn them alive. The woman was pregnant with their fifth child. The couple had moved four years previously to the village of Chak 59, after the man had found a job at the local brick factory. A few days before the fact, a fellow worker said he saw Shama burning pages of the Koran - in fact they were related to "spells and magic formulas" - and accused her of blasphemy.

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