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February 28, 2018
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PHC suspends sentences of 25 convicts in Mashal lynching case

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February 28, 2018

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ABBOTTABAD: The Peshawar High Court (PHC), Abbottabad circuit bench, on Tuesday accepted the bail plea of 25 accused in the Mashal Khan murder case and ordered their immediate release.

An Anti-Terrorist Court (ATC) in Haripur had recently sentenced them to imprisonment. In a short order, the PHC division bench, comprising Justice Lal Jan Khattak and Justice Syed Attique Shah, approved the bail plea of the 25 accused who were each sentenced to three years imprisonment.

The court, after completing the arguments, accepted the bail applications of 25 accused who were awarded sentences by ATC Judge Fazal Subhan on February 7. The ATC had acquitted 26 other accused due to lack of evidence.

Senior lawyer Fazle Haq Abbasi, who appeared for the accused, told The News that the PHC accepted the petition of all the 25 accused who had prayed for suspension of their sentences. He said all the accused had undergone jail for almost one year.

Mashal Khan, 23, a student of Journalism and Mass Communication at Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan, was lynched by a mob of fellow students, university employees and some outsiders last year on the suspicion that he had committed blasphemy. He was beaten and shot dead on April 13, 2017 after which a 13-member joint investigation team (JIT) was formed to probe the case.

The JIT stated in its report in June 2017 that members of the Pakhtun Students Federation, the students' wing of the Awami National Party, incited the mob to kill Mashal Khan on the pretext of blasphemy. The report stated the murder was premeditated as the group was threatened by Mashal Khan's activities because he had raised his voice against the alleged irregularities in the university.

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