Setback In Appeal For Jailed Pakistan Pastor


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By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent

(Worthy News) – A Pakistani pastor languishing in prison for more than nine years on “” charges faced more uncertainty Thursday after a judge delayed his appeal, Worthy learned.

Zafar Bhatti has been behind bars in since July 2012 for allegedly sending text messages against .

In 2017 he was sentenced to life imprisonment for “blasphemy” – a charge he continues to deny, well-informed Christians say.

Another court upheld the pastor’s sentence in June despite conflicting evidence, according to rights activists.

However, as part of the ongoing appeals process, a judge decided on October 18 not to accept Pastor Zafar’s case but send it back to a lower court to be heard again, Christians said.

“UNNECESSARY DELAY”

In a reaction, advocacy group Voice Of the Martyrs (VOMC) condemned the ruling as “another means of causing unnecessary delay to the legal proceedings.”

VOMC confirmed to Worthy News that “Pastor Zafar’s lawyers are now considering taking his case to the .”

The group said it urged its supporters to pray for “the renewed strength for long-suffering Pastor Zafar,” who “continues to endure imprisonment due to the ongoing delays.”

The group also prays for “wisdom” for his lawyers seeking his release and “comfort, peace, and encouragement” for the pastor and his loved ones. “May God provide him many wonderful opportunities to testify of Christ to those around him – whether they be prison officials or fellow inmates,” the group added.

Pakistan’s government has been under international pressure to overturn blasphemy laws that critics say are often used to settle personal disputes and often target minorities such as Christians.

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