Pakistani Christian dies after attack by policeman

Monday, May 31, 2004

May 31, 2004 (Voice of the Martyrs) -- Samuel Masih, a Pakistani Christian who had been accused of blasphemy under Pakistan’s strict Law 295, died tonight around 9 p.m. local time in the Lahore hospital where he was a patient.

Masih was arrested August 23, 2003 and was accused of throwing waste against the side of a mosque. He was held in the Lahore Central Jail until, suffering from tuberculosis, he was transferred to a local hospital on May 22.

Two days later, early in the morning, Masih was attacked by one of the policemen assigned to guard his room.

The policeman, a Muslim, reportedly told investigators that it was his religious duty, as a Muslim, to kill the Christian man. “I have offered my religious duty for killing the man. I'm spiritually satisfied and ready to face the consequences,” he is reported to have said.

VOM sources said the body had been taken to the Cathedral Church Lahore, and that police were pressuring church leaders to finish the burial tonight. Church leaders refused, saying they would hold the funeral and burial tomorrow morning. The situation is reportedly tense.

“This is another example of the danger our brothers and sisters in Pakistan face every day,” said Todd Nettleton, VOM spokesman.

The Voice of the Martyrs encourages Christians to pray for Masih’s family as they grieve his loss, and for other Christians in Pakistan.