Published On: Thu, Feb 1st, 2018

Ahmed Raza freed in Sharoon Masih murder case after beating him to death for drinking water from the same glass

A Muslim high school student in Pakistan is free on bail for the murder of a Christian teen after a botched police investigation. Charges will likely be dropped as the facts are being manipulated by officials.

Sharoon Masih, 17, was murdered on Aug. 27, 2017 by Ahmed Raza, who beat him to death for drinking water from a glass used by all students in a classroom in Punjab Province’s Vehari District.

Raza viewed Sharoon as an “unclean” Christian, according to the Sharoon’s father, Ilyasab Masih explaining that Sharoon was the only Christian in the class and all of the students who witnessed the attack have now changed their story.

Ilyasab Masih said Raza’s family has offered him more than $27,000 to settle the case, which he has refused.

Sharoon Masih’s photo on Twitter

Prosecuting attorney Allah Dad Khan said a police First Information Report (FIR) and post-mortem report left several gaps that enabled Raza to obtain bail on Jan. 8 from the Lahore High Court’s Multan bench.

The FIR drafted by police states that Sharoon’s father had witnessed the accused beating his son, though Masih was not present at the time of the attack, Khan said.

“The defense will use this factual error for its benefit in the trial court,” Khan said.

The FIR states that in the course of Raza kicking and punching Sharoon, he hit him fatally in the abdomen, Khan said.

“However, the post-mortem report states that there were no torture marks on the deceased’s body, therefore the defense claimed that Sharoon had not died of the beating,” he said. “It’s quite clear that the police and the medical officer deliberately left gaps in the FIR and the post-mortem report to benefit the accused in the trial.”

By stating that the cause of Sharoon’s death was “uncertain,” the medical officer gave the court reason to give the accused benefit of the doubt, Khan said.

“It’s the medical examiner’s responsibility to state the cause of death,” he said. “A human being has died, yet the medical report does not state the reason of his death, which points to mala fide on the doctor’s part.”

The lawyer added that he had presented various media reports in court stating that the accused was trained in karate and had the ability to level fatal blows.

The court rejected the arguments on grounds that media reports were not admissible.

Judge Sardar Muhammad Sarfraz Dogar ruled that the “post-mortem report of deceased Sharoon has opined that there is no sign of physical injury or trauma seen on the body of the deceased, meaning thereby there is clear contradiction between the ocular and medical account. At this stage it is hard to determine that whether the death of the deceased occurred through any beat [sic] of the petitioner.”

The court then ordered Raza’s release on bail of 200,000 rupees (US$1,804).

Ilyasab Masih said Raza’s release brought shock and grief to the family, and that he was losing hope for justice for his slain son.

“For months we have been resisting the pressure being put on us by Raza’s family to agree to a settlement in return for money,” he told Morning Star News. “They initially offered me 2 million rupees [US$18,062) to pardon Raza and then made subsequent offers, raising the amount to 3 million rupees [US$27,092], but I refused to compromise over my son’s dead body.”

Christian rights activists Rufus Solomon and Riaz Anjum said the bail points toward a high likelihood that Raza will be declared not guilty.

“Grant of bail means that the accused has a bright chance of acquittal,” Anjum, an attorney who heads the Pakistan Center for Law and Justice, told Morning Star News. “It is unfortunate that the police deliberately filed a weak FIR to help the accused party. Otherwise, how is it possible that a single accused who murdered the boy in presence of so many witnesses is allowed to walk free?”

Solomon criticized government ministers and police for distorting the facts to hamper justice for the aggrieved family.

“Sen. Michael had stated on the floor of parliament that Sharoon’s killing was religiously motivated, therefore it was his duty to follow the case till its logical conclusion,” Solomon said. “That’s the problem with ‘selected’ lawmakers, they only tow their party line and are used to sweep such incidents under the rug by making hollow claims. The senator also announced that the government will build a school in Sharoon’s name, but even that declaration was a bid to placate the family and the media. Whatever has happened to that school?”

Solomon said it was heart-wrenching to see a killer walk free, “but this is a bitter reality that Pakistani Christians will have to live with.”

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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