A Pakistan anti-terrorism court (ATC) Monday sentenced six people to death and nine people to life in prison for the lynching of Priyantha Kumara, according to reports from local news outlets.
In a press conference, Punjab Prosecution Department Secretary Nadeem Sarwar also said Judge Natasha Nasim sentenced 72 people to two years in jail, sentenced one person to five years in jail and acquitted one person under the Pakistani Penal Code and the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA).
Kumara, a Sri Lankan citizen, was murdered by a crowd of over 800 men in Sialkot on December 3, 2021. According to the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, the crowd beat Kumara “to death and burnt his dead body over allegations of blasphemy.” Anusuya Shanmuganathan, Human Rights Commissioner of Sri Lanka, asked authorities in Pakistan to “promptly” investigate and murder and perpetrators accountable.
According to Dawn newspaper, Sarwar commented:
Today, the ATC Gujranwala, upon the crime being proven, has punished 88 accused while one has been acquitted. This is a very good day as the law punished those who took away an innocent life. It is now hoped that the elements spreading religious extremism will be dealt in the same manner.
Former Prime Minister Imran Khan said the killing marked “a day of shame for Pakistan” and vowed that “all those responsible will be punished with full severity of the law.”