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Pakistan Prosecutor Offers Acquittal for Christians’ Conversion

Forty-two Christians in Lahore, who were accused of murder, claimed that a senior Pakistani prosecutor has been blackmailing them. They disclosed that the prosecutor offered them their acquittal if they convert to Islam, The Hindu reports.

“He told them if they embrace Islam, he can guarantee them their acquittal in this case,” Franci said.

The Christians were charged with killing two Muslim men following a violent attack in Youhanabad Christian neighborhood of Lahore. Two Taliban suicide bombers blew themselves up near two churches during Sunday Mass on March 2015. The incident left 15 people dead and more than 70 injured.

The Christians couldn’t believe what the prosecutor was offering them. Some fell silent. One reportedly said that he would rather be hanged than convert from his faith.

Rights activist Joseph Franci denounced Deputy District Public Prosecutor (DDPP) Syed Anees Shah for intimidating the accused Christians. He alleged that Shah asked the Christians to renounce Christianity so they can be acquitted.

“He told them if they embrace Islam, he can guarantee them their acquittal in this case,” Franci said.

The Christians couldn’t believe what the prosecutor was offering them. Some fell silent. One reportedly said that he would rather be hanged than convert from his faith.

The Counsel for the accused, Naseeb Anjum Advocate, revealed that the offer of the public prosecutor was presented six months ago.

“They believe in independence of the court, but why is the DDPP blackmailing them?” he asked. “The government should get rid of such elements that bring a bad name to the state by such acts.”

Pakistani newspaper, The Express Tribune, contacted Shah for his side of the story, but he initially denied the accusations. However, he later admitted that he may have “offered them a choice” when he learned about a video of his offer.

Sources:
Pti. (2017). The Hindu. http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/pak-prosecutor-asks-christians-to-convert-to-avoid-conviction/article17743234.ece

Indiatimescom. (2017). The Times of India. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/will-acquit-you-if-you-embrace-islam-says-lahore-public-prosecutor-to-42-christians-accused-of-murder-express-tribune/articleshow/57911107.cms

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