An anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Peshawar on Saturday (March 16) postponed the verdict of Mashal murder case until March 21. The four suspects Asad Katling, Sabir Mayar, Arif Khan Mardanwi and Izharullah were produced before the court amid tight security.
Mashal Khan, a mass communication student at Mardan’s Abdul Wali Khan University, was lynched to death by a mob of angry students rumors that he and his friends committed blasphemy. On February 8 last year, the anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Haripur had sentenced accused Imran to death and five others to 25 years in jail.
The 25-year-old Mashal described himself as a humanist, and had plastered his room with posters of his political heroes – like Che Guevara and Karl Marx – and written slogans celebrating free speech on the walls. He was also known for his criticism of the university’s leadership.
On 13 April, 2017 rumours spread that Mr Khan had posted blasphemous material online, a crime punishable by death in Pakistan. Hundreds of students and some university staff members marched through the campus searching for him. They broke into his room and dragged him out. Widely circulated mobile phone footage showed him being beaten, stamped on and shot. The crowd continued to attack his body after his death. During their investigation, police determined there was no evidence Mr Khan had committed blasphemy. His killing was ruled to have been premeditated murder.
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25 August, 2019