Pakistani Christian boy, 14, killed and body hanged to cover murder

Police are investigating the death of 14-year-old Suleman Hadayat at the hands of three Muslim brothers who own the stables where he lived and worked in Chehl Kalan, Gujranwala, northern Pakistan. Suleman’s body was found hanged in the stables by his father Hadayat Masih, but an investigation of the crime scene established that the ceiling was too high for the hanging to have been a suicide, as the stable owners claimed. Upon investigation it appeared that someone must have hanged Suleman’s body there to cover up the boy’s death, which had in reality been caused by a fatal head wound.

The circumstances surrounding Suleman’s death were mysterious. He had been missing for a week, his family searching for him in vain, when on 7 May one of the stable owners, Aurangzaib Bashir, took the boy’s father Hadayat to where he said he “had a clue” the boy might be. They found him 20km (13 miles) from the family’s home. The two men then took Suleman home, but he gave no clue as to why he had gone missing. The family suspect that this was because Aurangzaib Bashir remained present. After an hour, Aurangzaib Bashir took Suleman back to the stables where he worked, training horse to dance to drum-beats at wedding ceremonies (a traditional wedding feast entertainment in Pakistan). He was helping to support his family, while learning skills for his future independence.

Hadayat was passing the stables the next morning when he heard a scream, and saw Aurangzaib Bashir and his two brothers, Humayun Bashir and Jahangir Bashir, walking away from the stable. When Hadayat entered the building, he saw his son’s body hanging from the ceiling. Distraught, he went to the police to report the incident. The three brothers fled the scene.

Police investigations suggest that one of the three brothers had struck the boy in anger, causing him to fall down and suffer a fatal blow to his head. The brothers then hanged the lifeless body to fake suicide. A post-mortem examination of Suleman’s body which the police requested found neck and head injuries. The examining doctor recommended that DNA samples be tested as there was a suspicion that at some point Suleman might have been abused by his killers.

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