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From Our Member NCJP, Pakistan – Press Release: Indrias Masih dies due to Poor Jail Conditions & Negligence

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On August 13, 2017 Indrias Masih s/o Gulham Masih, 33 years old, accused under charges of lynching two suspected men during the Youhanabad attacks in March of 2015, died due to Gastrointestinal Tuberculosis. The family and community in general protested and demanded to the government to treat this incident as a murder case because his untimely death was a result of negligence on the part of jail authorities, poor prison conditions, consumption of unclean water & food. His deteriorating health was continuously neglected by the jail authorities. According to the family, Indrias was a healthy person and never had any major ailments before his arrest.

Indrias Masih was the father of three children (2 sons and a daughter), he was the youngest among his six siblings. He was the sole earner of the family and a labourer on daily wages prior to his arrest in 2015.  In hope of better life and income opportunity for his family, he shifted from Bahawalpur to Lahore five years ago. His monthly income was roughly 7000 Pak Rupees. He lived in GuluKot 2-3 kilometres away from Youhanabad.

Expressing disappointment on this tragic incident, Mr. Cecil Shane Chaudhry, Executive Director of NCJP said that it was upsetting that a falsely accused young man died due to negligence and poor medical facilities provided by the jail authorities. He highlighted about the inhuman conditions that the accused persons are facing while in the jail. Belonging to the minority community further increases their miseries and the attitude towards such persons is even more biased and discriminatory.

Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Yousaf (Mani) National Director, NCJP added that the court should show mercy on these poor people. They’ve been suffering in jails for a very long time. He highlighted how many of the accused are facing difficulty of sustaining their marriages while their children eagerly await the return of their fathers. While recalling the declining health of Indrias Masih, he emphasized that during a hearing on June 2, 2017 he did manage to draw special attention of courts towards Indrias’s illness, upon which the court only referred him to the jail dispensary/ jail hospital and not to any proper doctor or government hospital. While expressing his distress he stated that this request wasn’t even recorded in court. He pleaded that the government and judiciary should take a strong action against the jail authority for ill treatment and inhuman behavior towards the prisoners.

His Excellency Bishop Dr. Joseph Arshad, Chairperson NCJP prayed for the soul of the deceased. He also prayed for the family that may Almighty God give them hope and strength to cope with this untimely loss.  His Excellency stated that police sensitivity should be made priority and pleaded that justice should be delivered for the victim and his family.  He further stressed that police is often inconsiderate towards the sick and needy while stating that all human beings are equal and thus deserve to be treated equally and with human dignity.  The jail conditions and insensitivity of the police towards the prisoners needs to be evaluated by the honorable courts.

During a joint statement, they strongly emphasised that the government and judiciary take immediate notice of the following demands:

  • The jail authorities should be held accountable for the substandard conditions, lack of medical facilities and insensitivity towards the prisoners in jail due to which a young man has lost his life
  • The court should take notice of the current medical facility and hygiene conditions provided in the jails and bring the perpetrators to exemplary justice
  • Owing to the conditions in which the accused victims are currently held, the honourable court is pleaded to grant bail on compassionate grounds so that precious lives may be saved as a result of such negligence and bias
  • The court should ensure speedy justice for the victims arrested as a result of Youhanabad lynching incident
  • Indrias Masih’s death was a result of police and jail authorities negligence, therefore his family (wife and children) must be provided due compensation.

NCJP Media Cell