More than five years after his arrest, a Christian mechanic booked on the charges of blasphemy was sentenced to death by a Lahore court Monday. Masih has been in jail since 2017 and his case riddled with adjournments. The accused, who has a wife and a daughter, also lost his mother in 2019 while he was behind the bars.
According to reports, in June 2017, Masih got into a dispute with a Muslim customer in Lahore after he repaired the latter’s bike. When Masih asked for payment, the customer did not pay the entire amount and asked for a waiver on grounds that he was a religious devotee. Masih refused the request, saying he believed in Christ. The issue of money led to a heated argument and a crowd gathered, accusing Masih of “disrespecting” the Prophet Muhammad. The mechanic had allegedly said that for Christians, Jesus was supreme. This was enough for his arrest.
Since 2019, the case has witnessed multiple adjournments, rescheduling, judge not showing up, witness failing to turn up and even the complainant’s lawyer not registering their presence.
In 2019, Masih was released on parole to attend his mother’s funeral. After he was arrested, it has been reported that the family fled from Lahore in fear.
On multiple occasions, in different court appearances, Masih can be seen chained and in handcuffs.