On February 13th, Haroon Ayub Masih and his friend Salamat Mansha Masih were accused of blasphemy after reading the Bible out loud at a public park in Lahore, Pakistan, and then offering a Christian book to a Muslim man. Haroon and his family escaped into hiding, but Salamat was arrested (read more).
During the two months Salamat spent in prison before seeing a judge on April 16th, he faced severe mental and physical torture. His family members were not allowed to see him until the day of his court appearance. One week afterwards, his loved ones were finally able to speak with him for the first time. During the visit, they learned of the repeated death threats he faced and that, due to the severity of the torture, he succumbed to a confession of the blasphemy charges and the authorities' forceful coercion for him to disclose the names other Christians in his Bible study circle. The police also questioned him about the whereabouts of Haroon.
Salamat's lawyer has been unable to convince the court nor senior police officials of the gravity of the illegal actions that are taking place in the prison. Salamat's bail is being sought, but the chances of success are considered very slim. For additional reports on the challenges facing Christians in Pakistan, go to our country report.
Please prayerfully uphold Salamat as he withstands physical and mental abuse because of his faith in Jesus Christ. Pray that God will provide him needed protection, as well as the grace and strength to overcome this season of suffering. Through the ongoing ministry of the Holy Spirit, may Salamat experience an even deeper relationship with our Lord Jesus. And while awaiting deliverance from imprisonment, may he seize opportunities to minister to fellow inmates and even the very officers who have tortured him. Also pray for the continued protection of Haroon. May God's justice and truth ultimately prevail for both of these Christian men.