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Murder suspect released as death threats stall prosecution comment (0)

August 7, 2014

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — More than three years after the assassination of Pakistan’s first Christian cabinet-level minister, Islamist extremists have silenced prosecution witnesses and the prime suspect was released on bail July 11, the prosecutor said.

With prosecution witnesses unwilling to record their statements in court because of Islamic extremist death threats, there has been no progress in the murder trial of former minister for minority affairs Shahbaz Bhatti, who was gunned down March 2, 2011, according to attorney Abdul Hameed Rana.

Islamabad anti-terrorism Judge Atiqur Rehman granted bail to the suspect, Omar Abdullah, on “medical grounds.”

“Abdullah was injured in a shootout with police and intelligence personnel when a raid was conducted for his arrest at a private hospital in the federal capital [in 2013],” Rana said. 

Abdullah, suspected of being an Al Qaeda operative, also is the main suspect in the murder of Chaudhry Zulfiqar, a senior prosecutor with the Federal Investigation Agency. Abdullah’s lawyers had already won bail for him in the Zulfiqar case for medical reasons.

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