Thu, January 06, 2011
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Pakistan murder suspect in court

2011-01-06 03:25:16 GMT2011-01-06 11:25:16 (Beijing Time)  SINA.com

The man accused of assassinating the Pakistani politician he was supposed to be guarding left court in Islamabad defiantly yelling to supporters.

Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri is accused of killing Punjab Governor Salman Taseer.

He was allegedly incensed by the politician's opposition to Pakistan's laws on blasphemy.

Many outside the court appeared to applaud the murder suspect.

One group claiming to be lawyers vowed to waive their fees to defend the alleged killer.

SOUNDBITE: Unidentified man saying (Urdu):

"We, the young lawyers of the Islamabad bar, have decided that we will fight the case of Malik Mumtaz free of charge. We will fight his case, also those of his family members held in illegal imprisonment."

The killing of Taseer, shot 14 times in broad daylight, has heightened religious fervour in the nation.

Five hundred Pakistan scholars have praised the assassin's courage and religious zeal.

They're also warning that anyone who expresses grief over Taseer's murder could suffer the same fate.

SOUNDBITE: Shah Turbal Ul Haq, one of the 500 Pakistan scholars warning Muslims against mourning Salman Taseer, saying (Urdu):

"This is not just about Salman Taseer. Anyone who insults the honour of the Prophet Mohammed and dies, then his funeral prayers are forbidden for Muslims."

Pakistan's blasphemy laws have widespread backing in a country whose population is more than 95 percent Muslim.

But rights groups say they are often exploited by religious conservatives and by people seeking to settle personal scores.

(Source, Reuters)

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