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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
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"Adopt a Christian from Mosul," the thanks of the Patriarch Louis Sako; the concerns of the Bishop of Kurdistan
by Bernardo CervelleraThe head of the Chaldean Church is grateful for the AsiaNews campaign and hopes that "this chain of solidarity will reach far and wide”. Helping refugees to remain in Iraq. But many want to flee abroad. The bishop of Amadiyah where thousands of displaced people have found haven in churches and homes: We also help the Arabs (Muslims), and Yazidis, for free and without looking at our confessional differences.
ITALY - IRAQ
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul" to respond directly to Iraq's emergencyAsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis's urgent appeal "to guarantee all necessary assistance - especially the most urgently needed aid - to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others." More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes leaving everything behind and now have nothing to live on. To help them, five euros a day are enough. The funds raised will be sent to the Patriarchate of Baghdad, which will distribute them according to the needs of each family.
CHINA - VATICAN
Wenzhou bishop and priests slam government's campaign against crosses and churches in Zhejiang
by Eugenia ZhangFor Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang, from the official Church, the campaign of destruction is increasing social instability. It is real persecution against the Christian faith. The bishop apologises for failing to intervene sooner. He was hoping that the campaign would end quickly. Catholics and Protestants suffer injuries as they attempt to defend their sacred buildings. For priests in Wenzhou, the campaign is unfair and touches buildings that have all the right papers. Such "stupid acts" by the government are undermining social harmony.

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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