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Pak YouTuber jailed for justifying lynching of Sri Lankan citizen

A Pakistani anti-terrorism court has sentenced a 27-year-old man to one year of imprisonment and imposed a fine for justifying the lynching of a Sri Lankan citizen in a video, which went viral on his YouTube channel.

On December 3 last year, a mob of over 800 men, including supporters of hardline Islamist party Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), attacked a garment factory in Sialkot district, some 100 km from Lahore, and lynched its general manager Priyantha Kumara, 47, and burned his body over allegations of blasphemy.

According to police, Muhammad Adnan of Sialkot had uploaded a video on his YouTube channel on the lynching incident in which he justified Kumara's killing and burning of his body.

"Adnan had advocated the killing of those committing blasphemy. On his YouTube channel, he made arguments in favour of the killing of Kumara. As the video went viral on social media, police lodged an FIR against him and presented a chargesheet against him in Gujranwala anti-terrorism court (ATC)," said Assistant Sub-Inspector Mubarak Ali, who is also a complainant of the case.

Pronouncing the verdict on Friday, ATC Gujranwala judge Natasha Naeem sentenced Adnan to one year jail term, besides imposing a fine of PKR 10,000 on him. The prosecution presented the video of Adnan in the court which he did not deny, Ali said.

Some 85 main suspects whose role has been identified through video footages and investigation in the brutal lynching of Kumara are detained on physical remand. They will be presented before the ATC on January 31.

After Kumara's murder, some 200 suspects were taken into custody. However, 115 of them were subsequently released after no evidence of their involvement in the incident was found.

Lahore High Court Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti has also directed the Sialkot District Police Officer to complete chargesheet of the suspects and submit it to the ATC at the earliest so that the trial could begin and the culprits are brought to justice.

The local business community has handed over a donation of $100,000 to Kumara's wife and the factory owner says his salary of $1,650 is also given to his family every month.

However, surprisingly, neither the federal nor the Punjab government has announced any compensation package for the victim's family so far.

Kumara was working as general manager in Rajko industries, which deals in sportswear, in Sialkot district for the last seven years or so.

The lynching incident sparked outrage across Pakistan and in Sri Lanka with all sections of the society condemning it and calling for the culprits to be punished.


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Printable version | May 19, 2022 11:12:41 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/pak-youtuber-jailed-for-justifying-lynching-of-sri-lankan-citizen/article38310719.ece