Saturday, 30 April 2016

Christian couple lynching case:Legal heirs witnesses physically abused in open court

LAHORE: The Lahore Anti-Terrorism Court has summoned all legal heirs eyes witnesses of the Kot Radha Kishan lynching case for cross-examination.On April 28,2016 Sardar Mushtaq Gill,human rights defender head of LEAD along with Mr.Kashif Alexander,Mr.Salvance Jacob and Mr.Aric John advocates high courts appeared in the Anti-terrorism Court,Lahore to represent as prosecution counsels of legal heirs eyes witnesses of Kot Radha Kishan's case of lynching to death of the Christian couple.

Khuram and Shahbaz both eyes witnesses were tried in cross-examination by the defense lawyers ,they also physically abused them during cross-examination in the same way as the legal heirs witnesses were abused during cross-examination in the previous hearing on April 20.The objection was raised by the counsels of legal heirs witnesses engaged by LEAD and same was given in the notice of the court but the court did not take it seriously.The harsh words were also exchanged when one of defense lawyers pushed Khuram ,one of eye witness, to make him pressurized and his hair of head were snatched in the court while he was being cross-examined.

LEAD has taken the case from April 20,2016 and till now six legal heirs eye witnesses have been completed for their cross-examination remaining will be crossed on next hearing fixed for May 3.The statements of all legal heir witnesses have already been recorded but remaining for cross-examination.
Iqbal Masih 'the elder brother’ of Shahzad and Shama burned alive in false blasphemy allegation,says, “We were assured that the case will be decided within a few months, but  one year and several months have passed since the tragic lynching of our brother and sister .”

“We are still being threatened and approached from different quarters to compromise and forgive the accused even on last hearing the accused extended life threats instead being in the custody of police” Iqbal added.

He further stated that they have been waiting for justice and hopeful that the case will soon be decided.

Sardar Mushtaq Gill,human rights defender said that the families of those who were in judicial lockup were still trying to influence and to pressurize the legal heirs witnesses.Some more accused have filed bail petitions hoping to influence the legal heirs to get release from jail.

"The four bail petitions have been filed and in these four bail petitions LEAD's counsels have submitted their power of attorney on behalf of legal heirs of victim Shahzad and shama and one of them dismissed as withdrawn after arguments ," Gill added.

He further stated that he was thankful for Christian lawyers Mr. Kashif Alexander ,Mr. Salvance Jacob and Mr. Aric John who are  providing their legal services to LEAD in this case without taking any remuneration from LEAD or any other.

LEAD's lawyers team is striving for justice for the legal heirs of Christian couple, who was burned alive after a false allegation of blasphemy, and we request the international community and the groups who are supporting the persecuted,victims of blasphemy law and survivors,please stand with us and encourage and strengthen our work with your support and voice and particularly for the victim family of Shahzad and Shama.

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