By Xavier P. William, Worthy News Special Correspondent reporting from Pakistan
FAISALABAD, PAKISTAN (Worthy News)-- Suspected Muslim militants shot and killed two Christian men who were due to appear in court on charges of blasphemy against Islam in Pakistan's Punjab province, trial observers confirmed Monday, July 19.
Brothers Sajid Emmanuel, 30, and Rashid Emmanuel, 32, were assassinated by masked gun men Monday, July 19, inside a district court building in the city of Faisalabad, before the men could enter a trial room, said witness Khalid Gill, a Christian legislator in the Punjab Assembly.
He told Worthy News that Sajid Emmanuel died on the spot while Rashid Emmanuel passed away while being rushed to an awaiting ambulance.
The gunmen reportedly managed to escape. It was not immediate how many attackers were involved in the shooting.
The Christian men had been accused by Muslims of blasphemy, but Christian rights group following Monday's trial said they were innocent.
Several Christians have been detained in Pakistan on charges of blasphemy, but critics claim the legislation has been misused to settle personal disputes, for instance over land or money.
Rights group have urged the Pakistani government to annul the blasphemy legislation. Christians comprise less than five percent of Pakistan's mainly Muslim population of over 177 million people, according to estimates by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).