Christians Accused of Desecrating Koran Freed

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A Christian father and daughter accused of desecrating a copy of the Koran were recently released from a Pakistan jail.

Gulsher Masih and his 20-year-old daughter Ashyana Gulsher (known as Sandal) were jailed in October 2008 after Muslims in their town accused them of ripping and burning pages from a copy of the Koran. Such a crime can carry a life-sentence in mostly Muslim Pakistan.

Gulsher says he was beaten by inmates who tried to force him to convert to Islam during his 14-month imprisonment.

"These long 14 months seemed like ages," Masih told Compass Direct News. "There was one inmate, Ghulam Fareed, a rich man, who always harassed me, trying to coerce me to convert to Islam by saying he would make me rich and would send me abroad."

Compass reports a judge dismissed the case after their attorney, Khalil Tahir, cross-examined witnesses.

"During cross examination, I proved that the whole case was concocted, frivolous, fake and that the charges against the accused Christian brother were unfounded," Tahir said.

Religious rights groups say laws against blaspheming the Koran and the prophet Mohammed are used to harass innocent Christians in Pakistan.

*Originally aired December 18, 2009.

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