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ATC indicts 57 people in Mashal Khan lynching case

Updated September 19, 2017

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An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in Haripur on Tuesday indicted 57 people in the Mashal Khan lynching case, DawnNews reported.

Strict security measures were in place in the vicinity of Haripur jail where the trial was conducted and where the arrested men named in the case were presented before the ATC. The accused had been held in Haripur Central Prison.

A second hearing will take place tomorrow (Wednesday) in which the prosecution and defence will present their arguments. Mashal's father, Iqbal Khan, will appear before the court on Wednesday.

All those indicted in the case have pleaded not guilty.

In April, a vigilante mob, incited by rumours, had attacked Khan for allegedly "publishing blasphemous content online". The mass communication student, enrolled in Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan (AWKUM), was beaten and shot by the mob. He later succumbed to his injuries.

A report compiled by the 13-member joint investigation team probing the lynching stated that a group in AWKUM had incited a mob against the student on the pretext of blasphemy. It added that no proof was found that Mashal Khan had ever committed the offence.

In July, Peshawar High Court (PHC) Chief Justice Yahya Afridi had ordered the transfer of the murder case from Mardan to an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in Haripur jail after Khan's father requested the move fearing his "influential adversaries".

Iqbal in his petition had also requested the PHC to pay his legal fee and asked the Supreme Court provide protection to his daughters, who haven’t been to school since Mashal’s murder.