LAHORE:Appeal of Sajjad Masih Gill, a Christian man sentenced to life imprisonment and fined Rs.200,000/- (About $ 2000 US) for blasphemy on July 13,2013 in Gojra, is admitted and notice on 7 December after Sajjad petitioned in the Lahore High Court to hear the appeal but even then the further hearing was not made possible to be fixed by the court.
On December 15,Sajjad filed an other petition in the the Lahore High Court for suspension of his sentence till the final decision on his appeal which was fixed for December 16 and Sardar Mushtaq Gill,Human Rights Defender who heads LEAD along with his team appeared in the court of Mr.Justice Sardar Muhammad Shamim and next date hearing in this petition has been fixed for 21 January,2016.
The petition also states that Sajjad’s case falls under section 426(1) and (1-A) (C) the Criminal Procedure Code, which stipulates as ‘Pending any appeal by a convicted person, the Appellate Court may, for reasons to be recorded by it in writing, order that the execution of the sentence or order appealed against be suspended and, also, if he is in confinement, that he be released on bail or on his own bond’ and to imprisonment for life or imprisonment exceeding seven years and whose appeal has not been decided within a period of two years of his conviction’.
“Sajjad has been behind bars since December 28, 2011 and he was sentenced life imprisonment and against this sentence his appeal is pending for more than two years; hence, he is entitled right of suspension of his sentence and release on bail on statutory grounds,” told Sardar Mushtaq Gill,Human Rights Defender who heads LEAD.
In 2009, six Christians were burned alive in Gojra, some 200 kilometers from here, when hundreds of Muslims attacked and looted their homes, sparked by rumors that the Quran had been desecrated.
Last year in November,an enraged mob of Muslim attacked a young Christian couple, Shahzad and Shama, after accusing them of desecration of Quranic pages and later burnt them alive in the brick kiln where they worked.
We at LEAD provide free legal assistance and advocacy to those victims of religious discrimination and violence who can not afford to bear heavy legal cost of counsels and it is only possible with your support and our request to support our work for such poor victims. We are grateful for those who are praying for us and financially supporting our work.