Pakistani Christian dies in jail, authorities accused of neglect

Light of truth

Leading Catholic human rights advocates in Pakistan are calling for authorities to take action after a Christian prisoner died in jail due to a lack of proper medical attention.

Dominican Father James Channan, the Director of Peace Centre Lahore, told Crux the death of Indrias Masih was the “result of negligence” by the authorities in the jail.

Masih was one of 42 people arrested as suspects in the lynching of two Muslims in the aftermath of a March 15, 2015, terrorist bombing of Christ Church, a Catholic church in Lahore’s predominantly Christian Youhanabad neighbourhood.

The two Muslims were suspected by a mob of having been involved in the attack, a charge their families and the authorities deny.

Christian leaders in the city say Masih himself was innocent of being involved in the revenge attack.

He died on August 13 of gastrointestinal tuberculosis. Channan called his death “sad and shocking.”

The National Commission for Justice and Peace, an office of the Pakistani bishops’ conference, said the family and community are demanding the government treat this incident as a murder case.
“His untimely death was a result of negligence on the part of jail authorities, poor prison conditions, consumption of unclean water and food. His deteriorating health was continuously neglected by the jail authorities. According to the family, Indrias was a healthy person and never had any major ailments before his arrest,” the NCJP said in a statement.

Bishop Joseph Arshad, the Chairperson of the NCJP, said police sensitivity should be made a priority, adding the police are often inconsiderate towards the sick and needy.

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