Date: February 27, 2018
By BosNewsLife Asia Service with reporting by BosNewsLife's Stefan J.
LAHORE, PAKISTAN (BosNewsLife)-- The cousin of a Christian teenager detained in Pakistan for “blasphemy against Islam" remains in critical condition after he was beaten and forced by police to perform a sex act on his relative, officials and Christians confirmed.
Sajid Masih – the 24-year-old cousin of suspect Patras Masih, said the incident happened last Friday, February 23, in the Pakistani city of Lahore where he was brought in for questioning.
“They later took Patras and me to the fourth floor of the police building and started beating both of us," he explained in statements. Sajid Masih added that he was then ordered to have sex with Patras Masih. He refused, “However they insisted, and I had no option but to jump through the window of the room.”
BosNewsLife usually doesn't reveal names of those suffering sexual abuse, unless victims want their names published.
Sajid Masih said that after jumping out of a fourth-floor window of the police building, he sustained potentially life-threatening injuries that have left him hospitalized.
Local police reportedly launched a criminal case against Sajid Masih saying "he tried to commit suicide during routine questioning."
In a reaction, leading lawyer and human rights defender Sardar Mushtaq Gill condemned police officials and other authorities.
He said the alleged abuse shows "the mentality" of Islamic "religious motivated government officials who are supposed to be the custodians of a fair investigation."
Sajid Masih was asked to answer questions about his relative Patras Masih after he was taken into custody on February 19 for allegedly posting "blasphemous content" including showing "disrespect to the prophet, Muhammad" on his Facebook website, several sources told BosNewsLife.
Amid the turmoil, a Muslim mob threatened to hang the young Christian, prompting some 1,000 families to flee a Christian neighborhood in Lahore.
A tense calm has returned to the area, following recent talks between Christian and Muslim leaders.
If convicted, Patras Masih could face the death penalty.
Lawyer Gill, who leads advocacy group Legal Evangelical Association Development (LEAD), said police "are not trustable and honest" to conduct an investigation "in such sensitive cases whose punishment is death.”
Blasphemy is a sensitive issue in Pakistan, and those accused of it have become an easy target for religiously motivated extremists, said Gill, who himself received death threats.
Young Christians are under pressure to watch their words on social media in the Muslim-majority nation.