PHC announces verdict of Mashal Khan lynching case

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Thursday announced the judgment on appeals challenging the verdict of an anti-terrorism court in lynching case of Mashal Khan, a university student in Mardan.

A bench of the high court commuted death penalty of a convict in life sentence, while maintained life sentence to seven convicts and three years jail term to 25 others.

The appeals were filed by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, Mashal’s father and the convicts who were awarded jail terms by the trial court.

Mashal, 23, a student at Abdul Wali Khan University (AWKU) in Mardan, was beaten and shot to death on April 13, 2017 by an unruly mob instigated by rumours that he had committed blasphemy by posting sacrilegious content online.

The court cancelled bails of 25 convicts and ordered their arrest from the courtroom.

On February 07, 2018 the ATC sentenced the prime suspect to death while five others to 25 years’ imprisonment in the case.

ATC  had acquitted 26 suspects and awarded three years of jail term to 25 other accused in the case.

Convict Imran, who was awarded capital punishment, was found guilty of firing shots at the victim student from his pistol, which led to his death.

He had also confessed to the crime before the court.

Nearly 50 prosecution witnesses testified against the suspects during the course of the hearing conducted inside Haripur Central Jail.

The prosecution charged 61 people in the case, while 57 of them were arrested and produced before the court for trial.