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 court complex in Peshawar on charges he claimed to have been a prophet when he was shot six times. The shooters were identified by the authorities as a local 19-year-old man named Faisal.
The United States has called on Pakistan on Thursday to overhaul a strict law that critics say often harass members of religious minorities, the New York Times reports.
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According to the State Department, Naseem from Illinois was seduced by people in Pakistan who wanted to seize him using Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. Consular officers have worked with Naseem and his family since he was detained there in 2018.
“We are saddened by Mr Naseem’s family,” said Cale Brown, a State Department spokeswoman. “We call on Pakistan to immediately reform its often abusive blasphemy laws and its judicial system to allow such abuses to take place, and to ensure that the suspect is prosecuted in full law.”
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Ahmad Naseem was a member of the Ahmadi sect, which was declared heretical under the Pakistani constitution, according to the Times, but he withdrew from the group and claimed to be a messiah.
He was charged with blasphemy in 2018.