Five men in Pakistan's Punjab province were sentenced to death last week for their leading role in the November 2014 murder of a Christian couple. Another eight were given two years in prison for their participation in the lynching.
Judge Chaudhry Muhammad Azam of Lahore's Anti-Terrorism Court handed down the sentences Nov. 23. The guilty have also been fined 200,000 Pakistani rupees (about $1,900).
On Nov. 4, 2014, Shahzad Masih and his wife Shama, who was pregnant with the couple's fourth child, were attacked by a lynch mob and their bodies burned after they were accused of desecrating the Quran. The couple lived in Kot Radha Kishan, a city located nearly 40 miles southwest of Lahore.
The couple worked at a brick kiln, and it has been reported that the kiln owner noticed Shama – who was illiterate – burning some belongings of her recently-deceased father-in-law, and charged that some pages she burnt were from the Quran – he then detained them. They owed him money, and he refused to release them without being paid.
It was then announced from local mosques that the couple had desecrated the Quran, and a mob forced their way into the room where the Masihs were held, and beat them with bricks and shovels. Reports vary as to whether or not the couple's bodies were thrown into the kiln before or after their deaths.
This article continues at [Catholic Register] Five men sentenced to death in Pakistan over lynching of Christian couple