Pakistani YouTuber jailed for justifying the lynching of a Sri Lankan
Lahore: On December 3 last year, a mob of more than 800 men, including supporters of the radical Islamist Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) party, attacked a garment factory in Sialkot district, about 100 km from Lahore, and lynched its chief executive Priyantha Kumara, 47, and burned his body on allegations of blasphemy.
According to the police, Muhammad Adnan of Sialkot had uploaded a video on his YouTube channel about the lynching incident in which he justified the killing and burning of Kumara.
“Adnan had advocated the killing of those who commit blasphemy. On his YouTube channel, he made the case for killing Kumara. As the video went viral on social media, the police filed an FIR against him and submitted an indictment against him at the Gujranwala Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC),’ Deputy Inspector Mubarak Ali said, who is also one of the plaintiffs in the case.
Delivering the verdict on Friday, ATC Gujranwala Judge Natasha Naeem sentenced Adnan to one year in prison, in addition to fining him PKR 10,000. The prosecution presented Adnan’s video in court, which he did not deny, Ali said.
Some 85 prime suspects whose roles have been identified through video footage and an investigation in Kumara’s brutal lynching are being held in pre-trial detention. They will be presented to the ATC on January 31.
After Kumara’s murder, some 200 suspects were arrested. However, 115 of them were released after no evidence of their involvement in the incident was found.
Lahore High Court Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti also ordered the Sialkot District Police Officer to complete the indictment of the suspects and submit it to the ATC at the earliest to that the trial can begin and that the culprits are brought to justice.
The local business community has donated $100,000 to Kumara’s wife, and the factory owner says his salary of $1,650 is also paid to his family every month.
However, surprisingly, neither the federal government nor the Punjab government have announced any compensation package for the victim’s family so far.
Kumara had worked as a general manager at Rajko industries, which sells sportswear, in Sialkot district for about seven years.
The lynching incident sparked outrage across Pakistan and Sri Lanka, with all sections of society condemning it and calling for the perpetrators to be punished.