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mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
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» 12/03/2012
PAKISTAN
Punjab: 22-year-old mentally disturbed Christian man dies in prison
by Jibran Khan
For police, he died from a sudden illness. Priests and activists call for justice and an investigation. Like Rimsha Masih, the victim suffered from mental illness and was thrown in jail on the basis of unsubstantiated charges. After a week since he was taken into custody, police had not yet started the investigation.

Islamabad (AsiaNews) - A young Christian man, Nadeem Masih, was suddenly taken ill overnight on 1 December and died in prison. The mentally disturbed man been imprisoned on trumped-up blasphemy charges, this according the official police report. However, many elements in the case remain obscure, starting with the charges.

Nadeem Masih was accused of breaking Pakistan's 'black law' by a local resident, backed by a group of Islamists, whose complaint appear fabricated in more ways than one like the accusation levelled against Rimsha Masih, the 14-year-old Christian girl who fortunately was released after blasphemy charges against her were dropped.

However, the fate of the 22-year-old man is different. Despite the absence of an investigation or even actual evidence against him, he died in police custody.

Nadeem Masih was from Nankana Sahib, a town in Punjab. He was mentally disturbed. On 22 November, he was put in jail after he was accused of burning some pages of the Qur'an. He remained in custody for days despite the lack of evidence against him. Early reports suggest that police had not even started their investigations because of the absence of elements against him.

In a statement, police said he was placed in custody to guarantee him "greater safety" against possible reprisals by extremists should he be released. However, he died overnight on 1 December under unusual circumstances. For the agents, he suddenly felt ill and died.

Conversely, Christian activists and lawyers are saying that he was in "good health" and that he was beaten to death in his cell. Such a possibility is not easily dismissed since another young Christian man, Robert Fanish Masih, also from Punjab, was killed in prison.

Nadeem Masih's body has been returned to the family, but lawyers want an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

The young man's father, Yousaf Masih, has not made any statement on the matter and appears unwilling to pursue it any further, perhaps out of fear of retaliation.

Some local Muslim religious leaders did come in Nadeem's defence, believing him to be innocent.

"This is indeed an unfortunate incident," said Fr Arif John from the Lahore Diocese. "A mentally unstable young man dies in police custody. The authorities should investigate the circumstances under which he passed away. The allegation of blasphemy should not be used to kill the people."

Fr Kamran John agrees. "The young man was illegally detained for over a week" without charges. This worsened his mental state. "This is a patent violation of human rights; his death should be investigated thoroughly."


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See also
05/09/2011 PAKISTAN
Young, mentally ill Christian man arrested for blasphemy in Punjab
08/28/2012 PAKISTAN
Blasphemy, Rimsha Masih, minor with mental problems. Bishop of Islamabad: a positive outcome
by Jibran Khan
01/22/2007 PAKISTAN
Christian charged with blasphemy freed after two years
by Qaiser Felix
04/05/2007 PAKISTAN
Life of 11-year-old Christian in danger even though he is not charged with anything
by Qaiser Felix
10/29/2013 PAKISTAN
Karachi: Christian family faced with blasphemy and forced conversion threats
by Jibran Khan

Editor's choices
VATICAN
Pope: I am with the persecuted Christians of Mosul and the Middle East "May the God of peace inspire in all a genuine desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence is never defeated with violence. Violence is defeated with peace." At the Sunday Angelus Francis comments on the parable of the wheat and the weeds. God is "patient" He knows "the same weeds in the end, may become good wheat". But "at the time of the harvest, that is, of judgment, the reapers will execute the order of the master separating the weeds to be burned".
CHINA - VATICAN
Beijing, seminarians desert graduation ceremony: We will not celebrate Mass with illegitimate bishops The rector of the seminary is the illegitimate bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin: Students refuse to concelebrate with him and reject Msgr. Fang Xingyao, who has participated in several illegal episcopal ordinations. The directors close the year without awarding diplomas and send students home: rumors of some courses being "suspended" in September. The precedent of 2000, when 130 young students chose fidelity to the Pope over compromise with the government.
HONG KONG-CHINA-VATICAN
Card Zen: Religious freedom and civil liberties are united, for China and Hong Kong
by Bernardo CervelleraA wide ranging conversation with the bishop emeritus of Hong Kong: the courage of Msgr. Ma Daqin, who sent a message to Pope Francis; underground Catholics are also prepared to be arrested; suspicions about Beijing’s sincerity towards possible dialogue with the Holy See. And in Hong Kong, the march for a referendum on democracy; support for "Occupy Central"; the fear of the government and arrests. Card. Zen reaffirms that religious freedom and civil liberties go hand in hand.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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