Christian Dies of Tuberculosis in Pakistan Jail, Officials Accused of Neglect

Published 28 August 2017  |  
A small band of Pakistani Christians and supporters protest against the use of blasphemy laws in Pakistan as an excuse for the persecution of minorities

Led by Christian leaders, the human rights advocates in Pakistan sought government to take action against jail authorities after a Christian prisoner died in jail in Lahore due to negligence and lack of medical care.

Fr James Channan, the Director of Peace Center Lahore, said that the death of Indrias Masih was the "result of negligence" by the authorities in the jail, according to Crux.

Masih along with 41 others were arrested as suspects in the lynching of two Muslims in the outcome of a terrorist bombing of Christ Church in Youhanabad neighborhood, Lahore on March 15, 2015.

The Muslim duo was falsely accused of having been involved in the attack, their families and the authorities claim.

The Church denies the involvement of Masih in the lynching of the two Muslims, a revenge attack.

As a result of lack of medical on the part of jail authorities, deprived prison conditions, consumption of unclean water and food, his health was deteriorating and he died on Aug. 13 of tuberculosis.

Channan said his death "sad and shocking."

The National Commission for Justice and Peace, bishops' conference office in Pakistan, said the family and the Christian body are demanding the government to consider the continuous negligence of jailers and treat this incident as a murder case.

"His untimely death was a result of negligence on the part of jail authorities, poor prison conditions, consumption of unclean water and food. His deteriorating health was continuously neglected by the jail authorities. According to the family, Indrias was a healthy person and never had any major ailments before his arrest," the NCJP said in a statement.

"Jail conditions and insensitivity of the police towards the prisoners needs to be evaluated by the honorable courts," said Bishop Joseph Arshad, the Chairperson of the NCJP.

On June 2, when Masih attended a hearing, his family and friends requested the court to take note of his weakening health, but the judge only recommended medical facilities in the jail, and denied other alternatives.

Masih, 33-year-old, was a father for three children and the bread winner for the family before his arrest in 2015.

The church called on the govt to compensate his widow and provide for the education of his children.

"I appeal to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan to take action against the superintendent of the jail and other persons responsible for his death, murder," said Channan.

"I also appeal to the human rights organizations in the country to take notice of this 'murder' and help to provide justice to the grieving family," he added.


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