An American citizen accused of violating Pakistan’s blasphemy laws was shot and killed in court.
Tahir Ahmad Naseem, 57, was tried at the Peshawar Courthouse on charges of claiming to be a prophet when he was shot six times. The shooter was identified by authorities as a local 19-year-old man named Faisal.
The United States called on Pakistan on Thursday to revise the harsh law, which critics say often persecutes members of religious minorities, according to the New York Times.
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Naseem was lured to Pakistan from Illinois by people who wanted to intercept him using Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, according to the State Department. Conrula’s staff have been working with Naseem and his family since he was detained there in 2018.
“We grieve with Mr Naseem’s family,” said Cala Brown, a State Department spokeswoman. “We call on Pakistan to immediately reform the often abused blasphemy laws and the judiciary that allow such abuses to take place, and to ensure that the suspect is fully prosecuted.”
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Ahmed Naseem was a member of the Ahmadiyya sect, which according to the Pakistani constitution has been declared heretical by the Times, but he left the group and claimed to be the messiah.
He was accused of blasphemy in 2018.