Pakistan YouTuber jailed for justifying lynching The place where a Sri Lankan national was beaten to death and burnt by a mob outside a factory in Sialkot on December 3, 2021. (Photo by ARIF ALI/AFP via Getty Images)
PAKISTAN’S anti-terrorism court has sentenced a man to one-year imprisonment for justifying the lynching of a Sri Lankan citizen in a video.
On December 3 last year, a mob of more than 800 men attacked a garment factory in the Sialkot district near Lahore and lynched its general manager Priyantha Kumara, 47, over the allegations of blasphemy.
Supporters of the hardline Islamist party Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) were also allegedly involved in the incident.
According to police, Muhammad Adnan of Sialkot had uploaded a video on the lynching on his YouTube channel and 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 presented a charge sheet against him in Gujranwala anti-terrorism court (ATC),” assistant sub-inspector Mubarak Ali said.
On Friday (21), judge Natasha Naeem sentenced Adnan, 27, to one year in jail, besides fining him Rs 10,000 (£42.13).
The prosecution presented the video in the court which Adnan did not deny, Ali said. Some 85 main suspects whose role has been identified through video footages and investigation into the lynching are detained on physical remand.
They will be presented before the court on January 31.
After Kumara’s murder, about 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 directed the Sialkot district police officer to complete the charge sheet of the suspects at the earliest.
The local business community has handed over $100,000 (£74252) to Kumara’s wife.
However, neither the federal nor the Punjab government has announced any compensation package for the victim’s family so far.
Kumara had worked as a general manager in Rajko industries, which deals in sportswear, for seven years.
The lynching sparked outrage across Pakistan and in Sri Lanka with all sections of the society condemning it and calling for the culprits to be punished.