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Pakistani police: Muslim man accused of blasphemy gunned down, killed after release from jail

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ISLAMABAD — Pakistani police say a 52-year-old Muslim man arrested for blasphemy was killed by gunmen after being released from jail.

Police officer Mohammad Ayub said on Thursday that the bullet-riddled body of Abid Mahmood was found the day before in Taxila, a town about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the capital, Islamabad.

He says Mahmood was arrested in 2011 after claiming to be Islam's prophet, but authorities freed him recently after concluding that he was not mentally stable.

Ayub says relatives of the man buried him at the courtyard of his home after residents objected to his burial at a local graveyard.

Under Pakistan's harsh blasphemy laws, anyone convicted of insulting Islam or the Prophet Muhammad can be sentenced to death. However, people often take the law into their own hands.

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