Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Hector Aleem Convicted for Blasphemy without Proof

Hector Aleem
John R. Houk
© January 4, 2011

I received a Facebook update on the Christian-Pakistani Hector Aleem which I received on January 2 but I did not read to January 4.

In case you have not been following Hector’s plight as a Christian human rights activist in Pakistan you should know Hector was framed for committing blasphemy against Allah because a group of Muslims had grown weary of Hector’s defense of a small Christian Church. Here are some details I had posted in 2009 that was excerpted from Compass Direct News:

More than 100 protestors last week surrounded a Pakistani courthouse and chanted death threats against a Punjabi Christian said to be framed for sending a “blasphemous” text message on his cell phone.
Rawalpindi police arrested Hector Aleem, 51, on Jan. 22 and detained him on charges of sending a text message that insulted the Islamic prophet Muhammad. At his Jan. 27 hearing at the Rawalpindi Sessions Court, crowds gathered and began shouting death threats.

His attorney, Malik Tafik, told Compass that a local man allegedly framed Aleem for the charges because Aleem has made legal challenges on behalf of Christians involved in a land dispute. Aleem directs a small agency that often defends the rights of Christians.

Last November, a scholar associated with the national Islamist political movement Sunni Tehreek received a text message claiming to have come from Aleem. The religious scholar registered blasphemy charges against Aleem on Nov. 28 at the Rawalpindi police station.

Police raided Aleem’s house at 1:30 a.m. on Jan. 22 and assaulted him, his wife, and his two daughters. They also stole 50,000 Pakistan rupees (US$630) worth of valuables and broke pictures of Jesus hanging on their walls, according to a report from the Center for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS).

Authorities charged him with violating sections 295c (blasphemy) and 109bb (abetting) of the Pakistani criminal code. Aleem was transferred to a Rawalpindi anti-terrorism court for a second hearing on Jan. 30, where an even larger crowd of protestors gathered shouting that his life would not be spared. Many of those who came to protest were associated with Sunni Tehreek, which has been involved in violent sectarian clashes with other Islamist movements in the last decade.

“There were about 150 people protesting that Aleem should be handed over to them,” Tafik said. “And there were many journalists, two news stations, and lawyers who came out to protest against him.”

At a hearing at an anti-terrorism court on Monday (Feb. 2), Judge Sakhi Mohammad Kohut exonerated him of blasphemy charges but did not clear him of abetting. A government official told Compass that the judge’s decision was heavily influenced by Islamic extremists attending the open court hearing who told the judge, “If you release [Aleem], then we will kill him outside.”

At the hearing, the judge implicated the man who allegedly framed Aleem – Bashar Kokar, previously charged multiple times with fraud – accusing him of using his cell phone to send a blasphemous message against Muhammad. Kokar was charged with blasphemy and arrested later that day. But court evidence shows the original text message came from an unregistered mobile number that pertained to neither Kokar nor Aleem, sources said – exonerating Aleem, but also making it difficult to prove that Kokar framed him. Khushdil Khan Malik, deputy secretary of Pakistan’s Ministry of Human Rights, said he believes the judge implicated Kokar as a scapegoat for the blasphemy charges in order to appease the extremists.

This update sent by Mehwish is heart rending. Even with the lack of evidence the Muslim Jurist sentenced Hector Aleem to SEVEN years in prison. When presented with no evidence the Jurist basically said the oral arguments against Hector were good enough for him. Essential Hector was convicted not from evidence but from the fact the Jurist could do so.

In a letter that Mehwish relates in this update the reason the Jurist convicted Hector was out of revenge for America convicting al Qaeda terrorist Dr. Aafia Siddique. This is a gal born in Pakistan and educated in America receiving a Ph.D. from Brandeis University in 2001 in the field of study of cognitive neuroscience. After the Islamic terrorist attack on 911 on American soil she appears to have radicalized. Siddique apparently went back and forth between America and Pakistan and was eventually caught with plans for weaponry systems to commit terrorism. Pakistan deported her to America to stand trial where she was convicted to 86 years in prison.

Evidently Siddique is regarded as a heroine in Pakistan; hence her conviction resulted in an act of revenge by the Pakistani Jurist.

JRH 1/4/10
Hector Aleem Update
Sent: Jan 2, 2011 at 1:56 PM
Sent to: Members of Free Hector Aleem

On 21st of December, This was the day of daddy's hearing and many Talibans from Peshawar gathered in the court and chanted slogans against daddy and they were holding the prisoner uniforms because daddy wasn't convicted yet. Only convicted people can wear the uniforms in prison.

The judge went under pressure and he gave daddy a 7 years sentence and 50,000 Pakistani Rupees fine. I didn’t know why judge gave him the sentence because there was no evidence. Even the investigation officer wrote in his statement that he filed the case on an oral statement and he didn't find any evidence against daddy. Neither had he recovered anything (this case wasn't the blasphemy case, it was one of those cases which were lodged after daddy’s arrest to prevent him from getting out of jail).

God knows what is going to happen. I am so upset. I don’t know for how long we are going to ask for donations, I really want some money right now because when we go to the High Court we will file an appeal against this decision.

Due to lots of dangers we cannot study or work in Pakistan. And I don't know for how long we have to suffer this. We cannot spend this precious time in sitting here and wait for people's help. We really have to do something. Please put yourselves in our shoes and you'll understand everything. I don't how daddy is going to tolerate this. He is a heart patient and two days back a prisoner died in prison because he had a heart attack and the doctor came after 4 hours. Prisoners are not safe in Adiyala you must have read about the kidnap of 11 prisoners from Adiyala Jail. Anything could happen any time. We really need to do something.

In the statement of the Investigation Officer, He said that he didn't recover anything he had no proof and he has filed the case on an oral statement. After few days on another hearing daddy gave me a letter because we are not allowed to talk to him so he gave me a letter in which he wrote this:

Dear brothers and sisters

On 21 of Dec the special central judge gave me 7 years imprisonment and said emotionally that:

I DO NOT NEED ANY PROOF I TOOK THE REVENGE OF DR. AFIA SIDDIQUI. The investigation officer stated in his statement that the complainant didn’t give me any written or documentary proof. Neither did I myself find any proof against Hector. I registered this case on oral statement.

Dear brothers and sisters, Pakistan is very difficult country for minorities especially for Christians. If America attacks on Afghanistan or Iraq, Pakistani Muslims burn and destroy our houses and churches and loot our valuables and properties. They put us in jail without any proof; judges give their decisions against Pakistani Christians and give them death sentences without any proof. It is so surprising that we are born in Pakistan but still we are not Pakistani. Muslims always thinks and say that we are agents of Americans or Europeans. On the other hand American and European government think that we are untouchable creatures. They don’t allow us in their embassies, they hire Muslims in their embassies, they do not issue visas to Christians, and they do not raise their voice in our favor.

My brothers and sisters, is there any third option for me and for my children? I am in jail since 2 years, my wife and kids are hiding their selves. They are not safe in Pakistan. My sons are not going to school and my both daughters and wife cannot do any job. They are educated persons they can earn money but they cannot because of danger they are facing. How can my family survive? No one is ready for their financial support. American and European countries support and give financial help to Islamic NGOs and people and countries but the Islamists always like to help Talibans. It’s time to wake up! Please do something for your Christian brothers and sisters and all Christians who are suffering in Pakistan. There are so many Christians in Pakistan who are suffering but you don’t know about them. We are not allowed any facilities or to go to the Church or to read Holy Bible here but you give them proper places to worship in your countries even they are allowed to use loud speakers in mosques but we aren’t allowed to raise our voice for destroyed church.

Wake up brothers and sisters, wake up!

Hector Aleem

This is so very upsetting if the judge is making up this case and compare it with Dr. Affia's case, than this thing is very serious now. Now I know why he gave my father this sentence. This shows his grudge and discrimination for Christians.

I know I must have been very irritating for you but I really-really need some money. We are going to the High Court for the dismissal of this decision and we really need money to file the application in the High Court.

I have stopped living in fantasies. Now I am ready to run daddy's mass campaign I am just fed up of this because most of the people don’t read emails and I cannot afford phone calls to different countries because it’s too expensive. It is very difficult to ask for donation again and again. We have been paying our lawyer through donations since April 2010. How long will people give us? This is so difficult now. If nothing happens (I wish something must happen) than it would be difficult to live and doing nothing for seven years. Please pray for us and if any of you have any suggestion or any second option than please tell me. I really am upset now.

And if any of you cannot send through Western Union than you can contact me I’ll tell you details.


Mehwish Aleem
Hector Aleem Convicted for Blasphemy without Proof
John R. Houk
© January 4, 2011
Hector Aleem Update

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SlantRight Editor: I tried a little editing for clarity. I apologize if the editing altered any original meaning.

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