Mob kills Pakistani accused of desecrating Koran

An angry mob stormed a police station in southern Pakistan, dragged off a man held for allegedly desecrating the Koran and beat him to death, police said on Saturday.

An angry mob stormed a police station in southern Pakistan, dragged off a man held for allegedly desecrating the Koran and beat him to death, police said on Saturday.

The crowd of hundreds of villagers set the body of the man, believed to be mentally unstable, on fire after killing him on Friday in Dadu district of Sindh province, police said.

Some 30 suspects have been arrested over the attack on the man, whom police have not named, they said.

It is the latest case to highlight the sensitivity of blasphemy in Pakistan, where 97 percent of the population are Muslims and insulting the Prophet Mohammed can be punished by death.

The violence in Seeta village was sparked when "people in surrounding villages learnt that a man had burnt copies of the holy Koran," local police official Usman Ghani told AFP.

"They took him away, beat him severely and then burnt him."

Police detained him on Friday after people claimed to have found him burning copies of the Koran in the mosque in Seeta, Abdullah Memon, a resident of the village, told AFP.

"They caught him and handed over to police on Friday morning," Memon said.

Police believe the man was mentally unstable as they were unable to get him to tell them basic facts, such as his name and address, when they took him into custody, Ghani said.

Some of the attackers filmed the man being beaten and burnt on the cameras of their mobile phones, said police.

"The only evidence we have at this point are the video clips that some attackers made on their cell phones of the incident, which include beating and burning," said Ghani.

"The investigation is proceeding and we are determined to catch the culprits," added Inspector General Fayyaz Leghari.

The issue of Pakistan's harsh blasphemy laws drew worldwide attention earlier this year when a Christian girl, Rimsha Masih, was arrested over claims that she burnt papers printed with verses from the Koran.

She spent three weeks on remand in one of Pakistan's toughest prisons after being detained on August 16. A court threw out all charges against her last month.

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Writer: AFP
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