Zafar Bhatti faces the prospect of spending the rest of his days behind bars after a court in Pakistan sentenced him to life in prison for ‘blasphemy’.
A judge in Rawalpindi found Zafar guilty of sending blasphemous text messages from his mobile phone – despite a serious lack of evidence against him.
Please pray that God will restore Zafar’s hope and set him free.
Religious rights campaigners believe that the judge acted under pressure from religious extremists. Zafar’s lawyers plan to appeal – but the appeal could take years to come to court. Asia Bibi, who was sentenced to death for ‘blasphemy’ in 2010, is still waiting for the Supreme Court to hear her appeal.
Meanwhile, Nabeel Masih, a 16-year-old accused of blasphemy in Punjab, has just been denied bail for the second time. He has been in jail since September after being accused of ‘liking’ on Facebook an allegedly blasphemous post. Nabeel’s friends say he’s been framed.
- Please pray that Zafar, Asia and Nabeel will know God’s peace and presence. Pray for their immediate release.
- Continue to pray for the repeal of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, which are often used to persecute religious minorities such as Christians,
- Pray that Pakistan’s judges will have the boldness and courage to stand up to extremists and uphold justice, especially in blasphemy cases.
(Source: Morning Star News)
We’re delighted to report that our Chinese brother Li Heping has just been released from jail – after almost two years of torture and abuse. The prominent human rights lawyer was arrested in July 2015, during a crackdown on ‘dissidents’ including many activists and lawyers. He was returned home to his family in Beijing on Tuesday. His wife, Wang Qiaoling, says he is weak and thin, and his hair has turned grey, but he is said to be in good spirits. He has also been reunited with his brother and fellow lawyer, Li Chunfu, who emerged from a year in jail with serious mental health issues. Pray for Li Heping and his family as they remain under intense surveillance. (Source: China Aid)