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Christian couple acquitted of blasphemy leaves for Europe

By Waqar Gillani
August 14, 2021
Christian couple acquitted of blasphemy leaves for Europe

ISLAMABAD: A Christian couple, who was recently acquitted of blasphemy charges by the Lahore High Court (LHC), has left Pakistan with four children after getting asylum in a European country with the complainant moving the Supreme Court against the decision.

“Finally, Shagufta Kausar and Shafqat Emmanuel along with their children left Pakistan,” Saiful Malook, the lawyer of the couple in their appeal, announced a day before as he was in touch with the couple after the release.

“I have not met the couple but spoke to them on phone a couple of times. They were happy and relieved after their acquittal and now are on their way to start a new life,” Mr Malook said. A two-member LHC bench while hearing their long pending appeal against the death sentence under Section 295 C of the Pakistan Penal Code awarded by a trial court had recently acquitted the couple of the charges and set aside their death sentence ordering their release. The couple from Toba Tak Singh was arrested in 2013 for sharing some blasphemous content through their mobile phone, a charge that they denied since day one. The husband was arrested for sharing the content while the wife was arrested because the SIM used in the phone was registered on her name. The trial court had awarded the death sentence to the couple in April 2014. The appeal was decided on June 3 while a written judgment came two weeks later followed by their release.

. The EU Parliament, in particular, had discussed the case of this Christian couple and also urged special medical care for Emmanuel, a special person. The EU was concerned about the safety, security and protection of the couple. The state authorities took them into protective custody till they left Pakistan for Europe . Their destination in Europe might be Belgium or the Netherlands, a person close to their family said. On the other side, the complainant has challenged the decision of Lahore High Court.