US citizen accused of blasphemy shot dead in Pakistan courtroom

WION Web Team Islamabad, Pakistan Jul 30, 2020, 01.33 PM(IST)

US citizen shot dead in Pakistan Photograph:( AFP )

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The man on trial, Tahir Shamim Ahmad, had claimed he was Islam's prophet and was arrested two years ago on blasphemy charges.

A US citizen, who was on trial for blasphemy, was shot dead in a courtroom in the northwestern city of Peshawar on Wednesday. It was not immediately clear how the assailant, identified as Khalid Khan, managed to get into the court amid tight security. 

The attacker was subsequently arrested.

The man on trial, Tahir Shamim Ahmad, had claimed he was Islam's prophet and was arrested two years ago on blasphemy charges. Ahmad died before he could be transported to hospital.

Blasphemy is an extremely controversial issue in Pakistan, where people convicted of the crime can be sentenced to life in prison or the death penalty.

The US State Department identified the victim as an American citizen, and urged Pakistan "to take immediate action and pursue reforms that will prevent such a shameful tragedy from happening again."