AP says he killed the “apostate” in accord with “his interpretation of Islamic law,” but actually there is no traditional or mainstream formulation of Islamic law that does not call for the killing of apostates.
Tiny Minority of Extremistsâ„¢ Update: “Admitted Pakistani assassin gets Valentine’s love,” by Asif Shahzad for Associated Press, February 14 (thanks to David):
ISLAMABAD – The confessed killer of a liberal Pakistani governor pleaded guilty to murder Monday, telling a judge he had no regrets because he killed “an apostate” as required under his interpretation of Islamic law, lawyers said.
Mumtaz Qadri shot dead Punjab province Gov. Salman Taseer in January while serving as a bodyguard. Qadri has told authorities he killed Taseer because the governor spoke out against harsh Pakistani blasphemy laws that impose the death sentence for insulting Islam….
Qadri was indicted Monday on a murder charge by an anti-terrorism court in the city of Rawalpindi.
Outside the court, dozens of Islamic activists carried banners saluting Qadri and demanded his immediate release. A small group of college students gave police flowers and a Valentine’s Day card they wanted delivered to the defendant.
“Happy Valentine!” read one of the banners….
When the judge asked Mumtaz Qadri if he’d intentionally killed Taseer, the 26-year-old said he didn’t consider his actions illegal, said defense lawyer Shuja-ur-Rehman Raja.
The lawyer quoted his client as saying he dealt with “an apostate” as required under Quranic and Islamic laws….
No one has been put to death for blasphemy because courts typically throw out the cases or commute the sentences. Still, some who are released are later killed by extremists or must go into hiding. Others accused of blasphemy spend long periods in prison while waiting for their cases to wind through the courts.
Taseer, a prominent member of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party, campaigned for a reform of the laws after a Christian woman, Asia Bibi, was sentenced to death last year for allegedly insulting Islam’s prophet, Muhammad.
But in a sign of how scared the largely secular ruling party is of Islamist street power, party leaders didn’t support Taseer’s move and, since his killing, have said they would not touch the existing laws.