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  • » 06/18/2013, 00.00


    Punjab: young Christian dies under torture in police custody with 22 broken bones

    Jibran Khan

    Irfan Masih was arrested on 8 June suspected of a murder he did not commit. For days, he was subjected to abuse in order to extort a confession. He died on Sunday from the serious injuries he suffered. "So what if he died? So many die anyway every day," a police officer said. Human rights activists call for justice, whilst the victim's family is in hiding for fear of reprisals.

    Islamabad (AsiaNews) - Taken into custody by police without evidence or a judge's warrant, a 20-year-old Christian man was held in prison for nine days during which he was abused and tortured in order to extract a confession to a crime he did not commit. In the end, he died from the injuries he suffered, including 22 broken bones, according to the doctors who examined his body. This is the tragic story of Irfan Masih, a resident of Sharikpur, Sheikhupura District, in Punjab province, who died on Sunday, still in the clutches of his captors, all members of the local police.

    The young man, who was employed by a local company, was arrested on 8 June on suspicion of murder. According to the family, he was held for several days at the police station without evidence or a warrant for his arrest. He died on Wednesday from the injuries he sustained, "multiple fractures" according to the doctors who examined his body.

    Despite the barbarous crime, police officers in Sharikpur show no signs of repentance. For the station chief, Masih "was not able to bare" the torture and died. His deputy added laconically and without remorse that he was doing his duty seeking the truth and had no regrets. "So what if he died? So many die anyway every day," Deputy Inspector Variam Ali said.

    Human rights activists and organisations, including Life for All, condemned the vicious act and staged a protest in Lahore.

    Despite the obstacles involved in suing members of the police, a complaint to the city's High Court is already being prepared in order to bring the torturers to court. Meanwhile, the young man's family has been placed under protection and spirited away to a safe place.

    Pakistan is not new to cases of faulty justice, extrajudicial killings and suspicious deaths in prison or police stations.

    AsiaNews has time after time reported such acts of violence, like the death in prison of Robert Fanish Masih in 2009, who had been sued for an alleged (and false) case of blasphemy. The same occurred to a young man suffering from a mental disorder who died suddenly in jail under suspicious circumstances back in early December after he had been arrested on the basis of the black law.

    Speaking about these cases, Fr John Gill, a priest in Lahore, said that "rigorous investigations" are needed to have justice.

    "Irfan Gill Masi was an only son," he said, and "we are still asking ourselves what was his fault. Why was he ripped away from his family so brutally? These events must end and the appropriate authorities should act to bring justice."

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    See also

    01/03/2018 16:07:00 PAKISTAN
    Pakistan’s Catholic and Protestant Churches condemn the torture of a young Christian (video)

    Sajid Masih jumped from a window in the Punjab police headquarters to escape police abuse. After days of waiting at the hospital, he was operated on his legs yesterday. Christian leaders call for an independent inquiry, demanding justice. His cousin Patras is still in custody for alleged blasphemy.

    26/02/2018 16:16:00 PAKISTAN
    Christian jumps from fourth floor during the interrogation in Lahore. Activists ask for a fair trial (Video)

    Sajid Masih is in intensive care in serious condition. His 17-year-old cousin is the Christian man arrested for blasphemy. Police agents wanted to force him to perform oral sex on his relative. For activist, "The government should punish the agents involved".

    13/09/2017 15:30:00 PAKISTAN
    School uniform became son’s shroud, says father of murdered Christian student

    Sharoon Masih was murdered by his classmates on the third day of school. For the National Commission for Justice and Peace, the boy’s murder is the fault of school authorities. His death was not the result of “a fight among teenagers, but in fact it was caused by intolerance, discrimination and inhuman attitude”.

    27/02/2018 16:46:00 PAKISTAN
    Christians fast to save young man wounded during an interrogation

    Two protests are held at the same time in Lahore and Karachi. Sajid Masih is in a Lahore hospital. The Christian man jumped from the window of the Punjab police headquarters to escape torture by agents.

    12/09/2017 12:10:00 PAKISTAN
    Punjab, Christian student killed, victim of religious racism

    Sheron Masih was 17 years old and had just begun attending public school. Classmates beat him to death with sticks because he tried to drink water. His murder, "just the tip of the iceberg; below, a great mountain of hatred and discrimination against minorities. "

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