A Pakistani high court is to hear the appeal of a Christian couple who have been on death row since 2014 for insulting the Prophet Muhammad, their lawyers confirmed.
Lawyer Saiful Malook, who successfully defended Catholic Woman Asia Bibi and had her blasphemy conviction overturned in the Supreme Court, will also contest the charges against the couple in Lahore High Court.
Disabled Shafqat Emmanuel and his wife Shagufta Kausar were arrested in 2013 and sentenced to hang in Toba Tek Singh town of Punjab province in addition to a fine of 200,000 rupees (US $ 2,000) after being accused of sending text messages insulting the prophet. Sentencing went ahead despite it transpiring that a SIM card presented as evidence by police was bogus.
The case was filed by Mohammed Hussain, a prayer leader in Gojra who alleged that the couple had sent religiously offensive text messages to him and other Muslims.
The couple pleaded their innocence, maintaining they were illiterate and could not write the text messages that were written in English. They also said that the SIM card used to send the alleged messages was bought using Kausar’s stolen identity card.