PESHAWAR: An anti-terrorism court on Tuesday reserved judgment against the four suspects in Mashal Khan lynching case after the lawyers of defense, prosecution and the victim’s family concluded their arguments.
ATC -3 Judge Mahmoodul Hassan Khattak is expected to announce the judgment on March 16.
Mashal Khan, a student of Mass Communication at Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan, was blamed of blasphemy and attacked by a crowd of students, university employees and a PTI Tehsil Nazim. He was dragged out of his university accommodation in April 2017 badly beaten before being shot and his body mutilated.
The video of the incident was circulated on social media. At least 61 people were nominated in the case, of which 57 were convicted in February 2018.
The remaining four will hear the verdict on coming Saturday.
The trial was held amid tight security inside Haripur Jail where lawyer of the Mashal’s family Barisster Ameer Ullah Chamkani, Public Prosecutor Arif Bilal completed the arguments against the main culprits in the lynching case.
The court then allowed the defence lawyers for the four accused to plead the case and they too completed their arguments.
ATC Judge ATC -3 Judge Mahmoodul Hassan Khattak announced to reserved the decision and to announce it on due time.
The main culprit and the other 46 accused had already recorded their statements before the court along with PTI councilor Arif, IzharUllah, Asad Khan and Sabir Mayar, while the statements of Mashal’s family have also been recorded.
In the initial days of the case, the court has sentenced one man to death and handed life terms to five others for murdering a student who was falsely accused of blasphemy.
Twenty-five others were convicted of lesser offences in the case and 26 people were acquitted.
The trial took place inside Haripur Central Jail for safety reasons. Security was tight for the verdict, with hundreds of police deployed and roads closed around the prison.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 13th, 2019.