Pakistani Islamist radicals hail acquittals over lynching

Pakistani police officers stand alert outside a central jail during a court proceeding regarding the lynching of 23-year-old university student Mohammad Mashal Khan, who was killed by a mob on his university campus in April 2016 over rumors that he had shared blasphemous content on social media, in Haripur, Pakistan, Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018. The court sentenced a man to death over the killing of Khan, who was falsely accused of blasphemy. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)
Family members and relatives of suspects in a case regarding the lynching of 23-year-old university student Mohammad Mashal Khan gather outside a central jail during a court proceeding, in Haripur, Pakistan, Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018. The court sentenced a man to death over the killing of Khan, who was falsely accused of blasphemy. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)
Family members and relatives of suspects in a case regarding the lynching of 23-year-old university student Mohammad Mashal Khan read from a list of those sentenced, outside a central jail during a court proceeding, in Haripur, Pakistan, Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018. The anti-terrorism court on Wednesday sentenced a man to death and handed life sentences to five other people in connection to the lynching. Another 25 people were sentenced to four years, and 26 others were acquitted for lack of evidence. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)
Family members and relatives of suspects in a case regarding the lynching of 23-year-old university student Mohammad Mashal Khan gather outside a central jail during a court proceeding, in Haripur, Pakistan, Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018. The court sentenced a man to death over the killing of Khan, who was falsely accused of blasphemy. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)
Pakistani army troops stand alert at an entrance to a prison, where the trial of a university student lynching case is being held in Haripur, Pakistan, Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018. A Pakistani court sentenced a man to death and convicted 30 others over the lynching of a 23-year-old university student who was falsely accused of blasphemy, officials said. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)
Pakistani journalists film a copy of the verdict in the university student lynching case outside a prison in Haripur, Pakistan, Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018. A Pakistani court sentenced a man to death and convicted 30 others over the lynching of a 23-year-old university student who was falsely accused of blasphemy, officials said. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — Pakistani suspects acquitted this week in the lynching of a university student falsely accused of blasphemy received a rousing welcome home in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa province following their release from detention.

A video showing some of the suspects being greeted by a crowd of radical Islamists and showered with rose petals in the northwestern town of Mardan went viral on Thursday, underscoring the volatile issue of blasphemy against Islam, which is punishable by death in Pakistan.

Mere allegations are often enough to provoke mob violence.

A Pakistani court on Wednesday sentenced a man to death, convicted 30 suspects and acquitted 26 others over last year's murder of Mohammad Mashal Khan by a mob on his university campus.

The trial was held at a high-security prison in the northwestern town of Haripur.

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