A Pakistani university student was killed by an angry mob of fellow classmates Thursday after being accused of posting “blasphemous content” to social media, according to police reports and school officials.
Witnesses report that approximately 10 students stripped Marshal Khan naked, stomped on him, and used sticks and broken glasses to bash his skull while shouting, “Allahu Akbar,” as reported by Reuters.
The deadly beating of the journalism student at Abdul Wali Khan University was caught on camera.
A crowd of over 1,000 people congregated at the scene and became so out of control that police were unable to get to Khan in time to save him.
“After severe torture that led [to] his death, the charged students then wanted to burn his body,” Mohammad Alam Shinwari, the police chief in Mardan, told reporters.
Roughly 15 students have been arrested after the brutal attack in the northern city of Mardan and the campus has closed as police search for other suspects.
One of the Khan’s teachers issued this statement: “He was brilliant and inquisitive, always complaining about the political system of the country, but I never heard him saying anything controversial against the religion.”
According to the Center for Research and Security Studies, more than sixty-five people have been killed as a result of blasphemy accusations since 1990. Anything considered to be mocking the prophet Mohammed is reportedly labeled as blasphemy in Pakistan.
Pakistani online activists believe blasphemy-related crack downs on social media are veiled attempts by the country’s powerful military to limit dissent on human rights violations.
In January, five online activists went missing and were publicly accused of blasphemy while they were absent. Four of them have reappeared and at least one has said he was abducted and interrogated by Pakistan’s intelligence agencies.
Watch the video below of a mob of students attacking Khan. (Warning: graphic content)
— Amina M. (@AminaMaalik) April 13, 2017
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