An Anti-Terrorism Court in Lahore, Pakistan, sentenced five people to death for their involvement in the burning alive of a Christian couple (Shahzed Masih and Shama Bibi) in Kot Radha Kishan in 2014.
The couple was set on fire by a group of Muslims – identified as Mehdi Khan, Riaz Kambo, Irfan Shakoor, Muhammad Hanif, and Hafiz Ishtiaq – for alleged blasphemy that never was proved. They were also fined Rs.200,000 for their involvement in the lynching.
The court also charged eight others for their involvement in the lynching and sentenced to two years each in prison.
A challan submitted in court claimed the five men goaded a mob of hundreds by making announcements over a mosque loudspeaker and incited them to violence with incendiary speech.
Both husband and wife were brick kiln workers from Chak-59 of Kot Radha Kishan, a town in Kasur district. The woman, the mother of three, was pregnant with a 7 month old child.
Blasphemy is legally punishable by death in Pakistan, where even unproven accusations often prompting mob violence.
A total of 103 people were charged in the case, but the court had acquitted 90, including the owner of the brick kiln, said Riaz Anjum, the lawyer representing the couple´s family.
Anjum said the five people were involved in dragging, beating and burning the couple while the other eight played a supportive role.
After the attack it emerged that the couple had been falsely accused.
There are more than 20,000 Christian families in Kiln business, and most of them are bounded slaves.