Published: Thu, February 08, 2018

Pakistan sentences man to death in Mashal Khan case

Pakistan sentences man to death in Mashal Khan case

Saad Abbasi, a defense lawyer representing the accused, told the AFP news agency at the prison where the verdict was announced that 25 people received three-year prison sentences over the killing while another 26 were acquitted.

They broke into his room and dragged him out.

On Wednesday, a Pakistani court sentenced one man to death and handed prison terms to 30 others who were involved in the mob killing of a university student wrongfully accused of blasphemy past year.

61 people were nominated in the brutal lynching of the student out of which 58 have been arrested including Imran, a suspect who admitted to firing shots at the slain.

He had also confessed to the crime before the court.

The ATC reserved its verdict in the case on January 27, 2018.

Almost 50 prosecution witnesses testified against the suspects during the course of the hearing conducted inside Haripur Central Jail. Fifty seven of the accused were arrested within a few days of the occurrence, while another one was arrested only last month. Four others remain at large.

Imran said KP government fulfilled its promise of dispensing justice and said that its decision to appeal the acquittal of 26 in the case is commendable, the notification stated. Party supporters also blocked the main road into Islamabad for almost three weeks past year in a protest against a law minister they accused of blasphemy.

Mashal Khan, a 23-year-old journalism student, was killed by a mob at the Abdul Wali Khan University in the northern city of Mardan on April 13, 2017. The incident shocked the nation and sparked a debate over misuse of Pakistan's controversial blasphemy laws. The proceedings were held inside a prison compound for security reasons. Roads leading to it have also been blocked keeping in view the sensitivity of the matter.

The crowd chanted slogans against the slain Mashal Khan and vowed to "move the Supreme Court against the verdict".

According to probe report, nothing was found to substantiate the blasphemy charges against the slain student and his two other companions. At least 74 people in Pakistan have been killed for purported blasphemy since 1990, Al-Jazeera reports.

Media men were not allowed to enter into the jail premises due to security concerns as a result newsmen faced difficulties in getting details of the judgment. It added that out of 57 culprits, 54 had been behind bars while the rest are still on the run.

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