Pakistan lawyer in hiding after death threats for blasphemy acquittal

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Islamabad – A Pakistani lawyer, won a rare acquittal for a Christian couple after spending eight years death row blasphemy , has asked for a security detail after he received death threats by Muslim extremists.

Saiful Malook, the defence lawyer for Shafqat Emmanuel Masih and his wife Shughufta Kausar Masih, Monday said he and his family were being threatened since a acquitted the couple earlier this month.

The in the central province of Punjab overturned the couple’ death sentence, weeks after the European Parliament highlighted their plight in a debate Pakistan’ blasphemy laws.

“I am under threat and hiding. I security,” Malook told dpa by telephone from an unknown location.

Pakistan’ Bar Council, the biggest union of lawyers in the country, condemned the threats Malook and called on the government ensure his security.

Malook already faced death threats once before, when he defended Christian Asia Bibi, spent almost a decade on death row for blasphemy and whose plight drew global attention Pakistan’ controversial laws.

Bibi was acquitted in 2018, but had relocate Canada due threats to her , and Malook fled to the Netherlands at the .

The lawyer returned to Pakistan a year later and volunteered to defend the Christian couple.

Several people accused of blasphemy in Pakistan have been killed by mobs or extremists even before the conclusion of their trials.

In 2014, killed a lawyer was a defence council for a university professor facing blasphemy . (NAN)