Christian couple convicted of blasphemy “left to die” on death row in Pakistan
According to the Union of Catholic Asian News (UCAN), the health of Shafqat Emmanuel, a Pakistani Christian sentenced to death for committing blasphemy, is in major decline due to his unfit imprisonment.
According to a 2014 medical assessment, Emmanuel was diagnosed as a paraplegic and suffers from large pressure sores. According to family, Emmanuel has received little medical assistance since being sent to Faisalabad’s District Jail in 2014. This has contributed to his deteriorating health.
Emmanuel and his wife, Shagufta Kausar, were accused and convicted of sending blasphemous text messages to a prayer leader at a mosque in 2013. The Christian couple denies the charges, pointing to the bogus SIM card presented as evidence at trial and the fact that both are illiterate unable to have written the text messages that were sent.
Despite this evidence, the couple was sentenced to death under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. Since then, they have been jailed separately and have appealed their sentences of the Lahore High Court.