Thursday, May 08, 2014

In Pakistan, Human Rights Lawyer Murdered For Defending Client Accused of Blasphemy

In Pakistan's southern city of Multan yesterday, gunmen posing as clients shot and killed human rights lawyer Rashid Rehman for representing a defendant accused of blasphemy.  Reuters reports that Rehman was representing Junaid Hafeez, a lecturer in English, who has been in jail after being accused by student groups of making blasphemous remarks against the Prophet Mohammed. During court proceedings last month, three people threatened Rehman with death.  Pamphlets distributed in Multan this morning said that the lawyer had met his "rightful end" for attempting to "save someone who disrespected the Prophet Mohammed". The pamphlet added: "We warn all lawyers to be afraid of god and think twice before engaging in such acts." This is apparently the first time that a lawyer has been killed in Pakistan for taking on a blasphemy case, though defendants have often been killed before trial and attacks have previously been carried out on judges and supportive politicians.