Another victim of the Youhanabad tragedy has died in jail.
Usman Masih, 29, died in Kot Lakhpat jail on December 9, and according to the police the cause of death was a heart attack.
Married father of two, Usman, was among 41 Christians accused of lynching two men suspected of being involved in the attack on Youhanabad in March 2015.
There were about 83 Christians who were charged with lynching the two Muslims implicated in the twin bombing on the churches.
In August this year, another Christian, Indriyas Ghulam, who was detained in the same jail and under the same charges, died from Gastrointestinal Tuberculosis. After Indriyas’s death CLAAS, which is pursuing this case, moved an application in the court of Mr Sajjad Ahmed, Judge in the Anti-terrorism court of Lahore for the medical examination of all 42-prisoners detained in the Youhanabad case.
The court subsequently issued directions to the prison’s superintendent, ordering the medical examination of all prisoners who were detained with Indriyas Masih.
Unfortunately, because of their faith Christian have to face persecution in jail too. Although CLAAS and several other organisations have raised their concerns with the authorities, they remain indifferent.
Nasir Saeed, Director CLAAS-UK expressed his concern over the death of Usman Masih saying it is very upsetting as Christians charged in this case are suffering needlessly and are dying one after another.
Prisons are overcrowded and there is no proper medical treatment available. According to the reports several people are suffering from different ailments and sadly Christian prisoners are not considered even human beings.
In March, these 42 Christians were asked to convert to Islam. The Deputy District Public Prosecutor Syed Anees Shah guaranteed their acquittal if they renounced Christianity – despite one of the accused insisting he would rather be hanged than convert.
Nasir Saeed said: “It is a very unfortunate situation that instead of these victims being given justice, they were offered a deal for acquittal from offences they never committed.”
It is believed that Usman died because of negligence and poor medical facilities in the prison and his cause of death must be investigated.
He added: “The court must take this matter seriously as Christians involved in this case have been suffering in jails for a very long time, despite all of them denying their involvement in the lynching of two suspect Muslims.”