Gunmen kill Pakistan lawyer defending professor in blasphemy case

By Reuters Staff
May 8, 2014
(The mother of Rashid Rehman, a lawyer who was killed by unidentified gunmen a day earlier, stands over his body in Multan May 8, 2014. Gunmen posing as clients shot dead Rehman, the prominent human rights lawyer defending a professor accused of blasphemy, officials said Thursday, underscoring the danger facing those trying to put an end to religious intolerance in majority-Muslim Pakistan. Wednesday's killing of Rehman in the southern city Multan was the first time a lawyer has been killed for taking on a blasphemy case, police said. REUTERS/Stringer)

(The mother of Rashid Rehman, a lawyer who was killed by unidentified gunmen a day earlier, stands over his body in Multan May 8, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer)

Gunmen posing as clients shot dead a prominent human rights lawyer defending a professor accused of blasphemy, officials said Thursday, underscoring the danger facing those trying to put an end to religious intolerance in majority-Muslim Pakistan.

Wednesday’s killing of Rashid Rehman in the southern city Multan of was the first time a lawyer has been killed for taking on a blasphemy case, police said.

Rehman had been representing Junaid Hafeez, a lecturer in English accused by hardline student groups of making blasphemous remarks against the Prophet Mohammed in March last year.

Hafeez had been in prison without being able to find a lawyer until Rehman agreed to represent him in February.

Blasphemy carries the death penalty in Pakistan. The accused are often lynched or languish for years in jail without trial because lawyers are too afraid to defend them. Rights groups say the laws are increasingly used to seize money or property.

Judges have previously been attacked in Pakistan for acquitting blasphemy defendants and two politicians who discussed reforming the law were shot dead.

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2 comments

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Posted by new_york_loner | Report as abusive

Yet another sad proof of how dangerous religion is! Religion stupefies people and narrows their view of the world. Just look at the pro-life movement in the US who killed doctors for performing their jobs. OK it might not agree with their views, but that is just the point, religion clouds your judgment and narrows your mind and in the extreme cases it goes totally overboard.

Religions are only based on beliefs and to make things worse they are based on beliefs that people had thousands of years ago when we were far more primitive than we are now. Maybe those beliefs could have been logical and believable at that time when our knowledge of the world and of how things really work was basically non-existent. The sad thing is that with the knowledge that we have today these old beliefs still remains even though they are obviously wrong.

Posted by chrisjoh | Report as abusive