Nadeem Samson

Name: Nadeem Samson

Country/Area of Origin: Pakistan

Background: Nadeem Samson, 47, is a Pakistani Christian who was falsely accused of blasphemy.

Reason for Arrest:

On 24 November 2017, Samson was arrested after two men named Abdul Huq and Sakhawat Dogar accused him of posting blasphemous remarks on his Facebook page; they had urged Pakistani authorities to conduct an immediate raid on Samson’s home. Samson’s family says that the allegations are completely fabricated and were used to settle scores from a previous property dispute.

It is believed that Samson had leased Dogar’s home for an 18 month period and that he had lent Dogar 4,000 dollars to live there; per the agreement, Dogar would reimburse Samson when he eventually left the apartment. Samson had lived in Dogar’s home for the full 18 month lease and, when he informed Dogar he would be leaving and that he expected his reimbursed loan, Dogar became upset and conspired with Abdul Huq to frame Samson for committing blasphemy.

Huq had used Samson’s public phone number to create a fake Facebook account and post blasphemous material under Samson’s name in order to accuse him later of blasphemy. Police heeded the requests of Huq and Dogar and arrested Samson as well as confiscated his electronics. While detained, Samson was tortured to extract a false, coerced confession.

Currently in Lahore District Jail, Samson is relegated to a tiny prison cell which is sometimes filled over capacity with 12 or so detainees. Since his detention, his mental health has deteriorated, he has experienced trouble sleeping, and has been diagnosed with kidney stones; however, he is not being treated.

Latest Updates:

  • On 6 January 2022, Jubilee Campaign and Voice for Justice had a call with Samson’s lawyer Saif-ul Malook – the attorney who aided in getting Pakistani Christian woman Asia Bibi and Christian couple Shagufta Kausar and Shafqat Emmanuel acquitted of blasphemy charges, in 2018 and 2021 respectively. Malook informed us that Samson has finally been granted bail after four years in prison. He attributes this success to his argument that Pakistan is violating Samson’s right to a free and fair trial and is keeping him in pre-trial detention in contravention of the national criminal code; Malook also gives tremendous credit to Supreme Court Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah for being unbiased in his judgement and open to Malook’s arguments. Regarding whether he foresees an acquittal in Samson’s case, Malook admitted that “that is a different story”, as his case is still pending in the District Lahore Court and could take years to be finalized. Malook also shared that he worries for Samson’s safety, as radical Muslim mobs have been known to viciously attack faith minorities who are facing blasphemy charges as an act of ‘carrying out justice’ by their own hands; in 2020, an extremist shot and killed Pakistani American citizen Tahir Naseem while he was on trial in Pakistan for alleged blasphemy. Regardless of his anxieties, Malook does express his belief that this bail decision brings hope to other individuals accused of blasphemy that they may soon receive bail as well. Nadeem Samson’s brother Shakeel, who was also on the call, expressed his gratitude for his brothers’s lawyer, saying to Malook: “You are an angel, because angels work in human beings. You saved my brother and you saved Asia Bibi.”
  • On 14 December 2021, Nadeem Samson’s brother Shakeel informed us that the bail hearing has been adjourned because both the accuser and the prosecutor were absent from the court. The new hearing date has not been announced.
  • On 13 December 2021, it was revealed that Pakistan’s Supreme Court had scheduled Samson’s appeal hearing for the following day, 14 December.
  • On 2 December 2021, USCIRF Commissioner Anurima Bhargava Tweeting the following statement calling for Samson’s acquittal:
    • “Last month marked 4 yrs since Nadeem Samson was unjustly detained on blasphemy charges. Like so many others, he faces charges under Pakistan’s Section 295 & has been denied due process. USCIRF calls for his release & all other in jail for blasphemy. In 2017, Nadeem Samson was arrested after being accused of posting blasphemous content on Facebook. Since then, he has never been formally sentenced or even had his day in court. Instead, his trail has been repeatedly delayed & his requests for bail denied.”
  • In June 2021, Samson’s lawyers’ bail request was denied, and a Supreme Court appeal was filed in July 2021, though there has been no recent news on his case.
  • In January 2021, Samson’s brother Shakeel reported that in December 2020, his brother’s lawyer Asad Jamal was supposed to visit the High Court to request bail; however, later on it was revealed that he didn’t follow through with the request. Shakeel asked Jamal why he didn’t request bail, and Jamal explained that allegedly the court rejected the bail request. However, there is a lack of clarity regarding whether Jamal requested bail for Samson and it was immediately rejected, or whether Jamal did not file the bail request at all. Shakeel spoke of his brother’s case:
    • “He [Asad Jamal] didn’t tell us. He didn’t tell the victim. The attorney never visited in the jail. They never told me what was going on. The CCJP didn’t tell me what’s been wrong. I was calling the CCJP. I’m responsible for everything concerning the case and fighting for my brother. ‘Please, you have to give me evidence,’ I said. They are not returning my calls, they are not returning my emails. [Samson] said he is not free. My brother is unmarried. He has no kids, no wife. [Because of the accusation,] he cannot start his career, he cannot start his own business. [People accused of blasphemy] have no career. They have no life. They have to leave their country to start a new life.”
  • In September 2020, Nadeem Samson’s brother, now-US citizen Shakeel Anjum Rafael, explained that the Catholic Church is funding legal aid for Samson’s defense and that “my brother is innocent.”
  • Samson currently remains detained at Camp District Jail in Lahore, Pakistan.