International Christian Concern, October 6, 2020
The Lahore High Court has acquitted Sawan Masih, a Christian man sentenced to death under Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws. Masih was convicted in March 2014, just over a year after he allegedly committed blasphemy.
On March 8, 2013, Sawan Masih was accused by his Muslim friend, Muhammad Shahid, of insulting the Prophet Muhammad during a conversation on March 7. According to Shahid, Masih said, “My Jesus is genuine. He is the Son of Allah. He will return while your Prophet is false. My Jesus is true and will give salvation.” The incident allegedly took place in the primarily Christian neighbourhood of Joseph Colony, located in Lahore.
The next day, March 9, local mosques recounted the accusation against Masih over their PA systems, inciting mob violence. A mob of more than 3,000 enraged Muslims attacked Joseph Colony, looting and burning Christian homes, shops, and at least two churches. Amid the violence, Masih was handed over to the police.
On March 27, 2014, he was sentenced to death in a trial held in the Lahore Camp Jail due to security concerns.
After hearing arguments from both sides, the Lahore High Court decided that the prosecution had failed to establish that Masih had committed blasphemy. The court went on to acquit Masih, reversing his death sentence, and ordered his release.