Rights activists in Pakistan have accused a senior prosecutor of coaxing dozens of Christians to convert to Islam if they wished to avoid conviction in the Youhanabad lynching case from 2015. Activist Joseph Franci, who was providing the accused legal assistance, told The Express Tribune that Deputy District Public Prosecutor Syed Anees Shah had said he “can guarantee their acquittal” if they renounced their faith.
Some 42 Christians are facing charges of lynching two Muslim men after suicide blasts ripped through a Sunday mass in two churches in the Christian-dominated locality of Youhanabad in Lahore on March 15, 2015. They believed the two Muslims were behind the explosions.
The advocate representing a few of the accused, Naseeb Anjum, said this was not the first time Shah has made such an offer. Anjum revealed that the public prosecutor had tried a similar tactic six months ago, but his clients had ignored him. “The government should get rid of such elements that bring a bad name to the state by such acts,” he told The Express Tribune.
Shah denied the accusation at first, but conceded to having made the offer after he was told that the accused had a video of what he had said, according to the Pakistani daily.