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Pakistan policeman hacks man to death for alleged blasphemy

Agence France Presse - November 7, 2014

A Pakistani policeman has hacked a man to death for allegedly making derogatory remarks about the companions of the Prophet Muhammad, police say. The attack came two days after a Christian couple was lynched over blasphemy in the same province.

Tufail Haider, 55, was taken into custody late on Wednesday in the city of Gujrat after a group of people allegedly overheard him making the remarks, beat him up and handed him over to police.

"Officer Faraz Naveed brought him to the police station and sent him to lock-up. Haider did not stop using nasty words about Sahaba (the companions) despite warnings from various officials," police officer Khurram Shehzad said.

"At around 5:00am, Naveed could not control his emotions. He went into his cell, brought an axe, entered the lock up and hit Haider's throat several times." Mr Haider died on the spot, police said.

On Tuesday, in another part of Punjab province, a mob beat a Christian married couple to death and burned their bodies in a brick kiln for allegedly desecrating a Koran.

Blasphemy is a serious offence in conservative Muslim-majority Pakistan, where those accused are sometimes lynched on the spot. Charges of blasphemy are punishable by death even when they do go to court and are hard to fight because the law does not define clearly what is blasphemous.

Pakistan's minorities feel that the state fails to protect them, and even tolerates violence against them.

Last month, a British man with a history of mental health illness who was sentenced to death for blasphemy this year, was shot and wounded by a prison guard in his cell.

Also in October, a Pakistani court upheld the death penalty against a Christian woman, Asia Bibi, who is also accused of blasphemy, in a case that drew global headlines after two prominent politicians who tried to help her were assassinated.

Source: http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2014-11-07/pakistan-policeman-hacks-man-to-death-for-alleged-blasphemy/1387063.

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