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LHC upholds death sentence of three convicts in Kot Radha Kishan lynching case

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday upheld the death sentence of three convicts in the lynching and burning alive of a Christian couple who were accused of blasphemy in Kot Radha Kishan in 2014.

A two-judge bench, headed by Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan, rejected appeals filed by convicts Riaz, Irfan, and Mehdi Khan who challenged their sentence. However, the court granted appeals of two convicts Hanif and Hafiz Ishtiaq, acquitting them in the case.

The bench also acquitted three convicts who were awarded two-year jail term each.

An anti-terrorism court in Nov 2016 sentenced five men to death on four counts over their involvement in the burning alive of Shahzad and Shama. It had sentenced three others, who were also charged with involvement in the lynching, to two years each in prison.

Last month, the bench reserved its verdict upon conclusion of arguments of the defence and prosecution lawyers.

According to the government counsel, strong evidence was available against the accused. He had requested the court to dismiss their appeals against sentence in the case.

Read More: Kot Radha Kishan incident: LHC reserves verdict on suspects appeal against sentence

A mob had burnt a Christian couple identified as Shehzad Masih and Shama Bibi alive in a brick kiln in Kot Radha Kishan near Lahore. It was said that the owner of the brick kiln had accused the couple of committing blasphemy over a monetrary dispute.

The incident was widely condemned by human rights, minority and social groups across the country.

After the barbaric incident, the police had registered a case against 660 villagers, including 60 who were nominated in a First Information Report lodged on the complaint of a sub-inspector. The mob had reportedly held hostage five policemen who tried to rescue the couple.

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