Thursday, October 08, 2015

Pakistan's Supreme Court Upholds Death Sentence For Assassin Angered Over Blasphemy

Yesterday a 3-judge panel of Pakistan's Supreme Court upheld the death sentence that had been imposed on Mumtaz Qadri, a former elite force guard who in 2011 killed Salmaan Taseer, governor of Punjab, Pakistan's largest province.  Qadri acted because of Taseer's support for a pardon for Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman who had been sentenced to death for blasphemy. (See prior posting.) According to the Wall Street Journal:
Lawyers for the defendant, Mumtaz Qadri, had argued he should be treated with leniency because he acted to defend the honor of the Prophet Muhammad. But the judges sided with prosecutors who said Mr. Qadri had committed a straightforward, premeditated murder.
The Supreme Court also reinstated Qadri's conviction for violation of the country's anti-terrorism laws.  A backer of Qadri reacted to the decision, saying:
This is going to cause anarchy in the country, because the followers of the Prophet, peace be upon him, are very upset. They have imposed the white man’s law on us.