Man shot dead during blasphemy trial in Pakistan, culprit in custody

Karachi: It’s unclear how the suspect, pictured here, brought a gun into the courtroom.

A Pakistani man accused of blasphemy was shot dead in court during his trial Wednesday in the northwestern city of Peshawar.

Tahir Ahmad Naseem had been in custody since 2018 when he was accused of blasphemy by a teenager, the BBC reported.

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He was facing charges for claiming to be a prophet — a violation of the country’s penal code that could carry the death penalty for “defiling the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad.”

On Wednesday morning, during a hearing, Naseem was killed by a man, who shot at him six times inside the courtroom, according to police.

The Culprit

The culprit had accepted his responsibility of killing the man and says that he killed him as he committed blasphemy informed police, Al Jazeera reported.

The alleged attacker, identified by authorities as Khalid, was arrested at the scene. It’s unclear how he was able to bring a gun into the courtroom.

A video of the incident, which has been circulating online, shows the victim slumped over a chair, just a few feet away from the alleged attacker, who’s seen speaking with the police.

Another video, according to the BBC, shows Khalid in handcuffs, angrily shouting that Naseem was an “enemy of Islam.”

While no one has been officially executed under the country’s strict blasphemy laws, violence against perceived perpetrators have become increasingly common in the Muslim-majority nation.

According to an analysis by Al Jazeera, since 1990 at least 77 people have been killed in Pakistan in connection with accusations of blasphemy.

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