In a rare instance in Pakistan, a judge granted bail to a pastor accused of blaspheming Islam because the complainant admitted that he had mistakenly accused him, attorneys said.
Karma Patras, a 55-year-old pastor of Bado Malhi, Sangla Hill, had been languishing in Sheikhupura District Jail since October after preaching on Christ's sacrifice at a funeral attended manly by Christians. Some Muslims present thought he was speaking against the Islamic animal slaughter ritual observed at the time, and Patras was confused when police showed up at his home later that day (Oct. 13) and arrested him on charges of defaming Islam.
Victims of false accusations of blasphemy in Pakistan usually spend months in jail without trial, and then many more months after conviction; if charges are dismissed, it does not usually happen until cases reach appeal, as most trial judges cannot withstand the pressure of furious Islamic extremists. Retraction of an accusation is also rare in Pakistan. more >>
The murderers of a 65-year-old Christian in Pakistan are not likely to face justice in this world.
A miasma of political and religious dynamics makes it unlikely. A Pakistani court has ordered a judicial inquiry into the death Niyamat Masih, who died in police custody from torture. Officers tortured him to extract information about whereabouts of a Muslim woman who had eloped with his son.
The physical examination done only a day before Masih's death, and an autopsy report, show possible connivance between police and the medical authorities that issued these reports. Both reports fail to mention marks of violence, though photos taken after Masih's death clearly show signs of torture. more >>
Newly converted Christians of the Sedang ethnic minority in Vietnam's Central Highlands were terrorized last week – their homes and personal property badly damaged or destroyed in four consecutive night raids, and some of the faithful seriously injured from beatings in broad daylight, sources said.
Since becoming Christians in the past year, five families in mountainous Kontum Province have reported constant harassment from villagers upset that they are no longer contributing to communal sacrifices and other practices because of their new faith. The attacks from Monday (Feb. 18) to Friday (Feb. 22) constituted a third wave of sustained violence since their conversion, leaving their property severely damaged and their lives threatened.
Attacks on the new Christians – who belong to a Christian Mission Church (CMC) congregation in Ngoc La village, Mang Ri Commune, Tumorong District in northwestern Kontum Province – were primarily motivated by strong tensions within the ethnic group over the families leaving the "old ways." Ideologically opposed to Christianity, local Communist officials freely permit and even encourage such conflicts, sources said. more >>
Nigerian military authorities say the commandant at a military college in Kaduna state had prior knowledge of the Nov. 25, 2012 bombing that killed 20 Christians at the institution's chapel.
Maj.-Gen. Mohammed Isa knew of Islamic extremist plans to attack the St. Andrews Chapel at the Command and Staff College in Jaji, near Kaduna City, but did nothing to prevent it, according to Army Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika. At a press briefing earlier this month, the nation's Army chief said Isa did not report the planned bombing to Army leadership.
Isa, who was subsequently redeployed and then forced into retirement after a preliminary investigation, denies the charges. more >>
A rape victim has been sentenced to 100 lashes and put on eight months house arrest in the Maldives, sparking international outrage.
The 15 year old rape victim was sentenced to the brutal punishment by an Islamic court for having premarital sex, after admitting to having consensual sex with a man in an incident unrelated to the rape.
She has been told that she can have the sentence carried out immediately or when she turns 18. more >>
Russia has defended a bill that seeks to outlaw what it calls "homosexual propaganda," arguing that the country should not be expected to comply with the European Union or international views on tolerance.
"We don't have a single international or common European commitment to allow propaganda of homosexuality," Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday, according to The Associated Press.
Russia is currently considering a bill that would make public events in support of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community illegal, with those deemed to be targeting minors subject to fines of up to $16,000. more >>