It has been a five year long ordeal, with lack of food, poor living conditions and abuse in prison, with two of the 42 suspects dying in custody in 2017. After five years however, the Youhanabad Christians are finally released.
In 2015 Jubilee Campaign reported on the Suicide Bombings of two Churches in Youhanabad, Pakistan leaving 17 dead and 80 wounded.
Following the attack Christians took to the streets to protest. The crowd collectively determined that the two suspects were responsible for the bombings.
While there are many interpretations of the event circulating in the news, one of which stating that Christian protestors killed these two suspects- Hafiz Muhammad Naeem and Barber Numan – confirmed witnesses reported that the suspects were actually killed by a Muslim radical to stoke violence.
Regardless, the Punjab Chief Minister filed three First Information Reports which placed collective blame on Christians for the death of Hafiz and Barber and permitted police officials in Lahore to trespass – at random- into the homes of Christians which led to the arrest of the 42 Christian men who they then transferred to prisons where they have remained since 2015 until their release on Wednesday 29 January 2020.
Legal Aid and Assistance Brought to the Youhanabad Christians
Thanks to your support, throughout their incarceration, CLAAS staff has been providing legal aid to some of the 42 Christians who were held in Pakistan. CLAAS in Pakistan has been providing legal aid to 45 Christians, and CLAAS’ lawyers have been attending the court hearings.
On Thursday 30 January 2020, some of the victims and families of the Youhanabad Christians went to the CLAAS office in Youhanabad to show their appreciation of the help received.
40 Pakistani Christians freed after almost 5 years in prison on trial for ‘terrorism’
Forty Pakistani Christians, who’ve been on trial for the murder of two men during a violent protest following Easter suicide attacks on two churches in Youhanabad – a majority-Christian area in Lahore – have been freed by the Lahore Anti-Terrorism Court. Two others, arrested with them, have already died, allegedly due to a lack of access to medical treatment.
|In November 2019, Jubilee Campaign circulated and submitted a letter to the Ambassador of Pakistan to the US calling for the release of the Youhanabad Christians.|
While we cannot tell what impact our efforts had in the court’s decision to release them after keeping them under arrest for five years unlawfully, we know that every effort on the path to justice is an important one and silence in the face of evil is evil. So thank you for joining us in raising your voice.
You can read the letter that was submitted here
|Thank God for the release of the Youhanabad Christians even through a settlement.|
Thank God that the US designated Pakistan as Country of Particular Concern in 2018 and 2019; pray that this will put pressure on Pakistan to uphold religious freedom.
Thank God for the lawyers and all involved in the release.
Please continue to pray for the Youhanabad Christians – those who were released and for their families – and for emotional, spiritual and physical healing as the local Christian in Pakistan mentioned.
Pray also for the defence lawyers of the Youhanabad case, for Joseph Francis and his team. For continued strength and wisdom.
Pray also with us that Pakistan will change their laws and discriminatory practices within the judicial system, and pray for brave judges.