An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan’s Punjab province on Monday sentenced six people to death and seven others to life imprisonment for their involvement in the lynching of a Sri Lankan national over alleged blasphemy.
The Anti-Terrorism Court Lahore also handed down two-year sentence each to remaining 67 other suspects.
Judge Natasha Nasim, who held the trial proceedings in-camera inside the high-security Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore, on a day-to-day basis, announced the verdict in the presence of the suspects.
The judge, however, did not announce the verdict of nine juvenile suspects, whose trial is yet to be completed.
A mob of over 800 men including supporters of hardline Islamist party Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) allegedly attacked a garment factory and lynched its general manager Priyantha Kumara, 47, and burned his body over allegations of blasphemy on December 3, in Sialkot district, some 100 kms from provincial capital Lahore.
The incident saw widespread outrage and condemnation across Pakistan with politicians, scholars and civil society members calling for swift punishment to be meted out to the perpetrators.