Death sentence for Pakistani bodyguard

Oct. 1, 2011 at 8:54 AM

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan, Oct. 1 (UPI) -- A police bodyguard convicted of assassinating a Pakistani regional governor in January was sentenced to death in Rawalpindi Saturday.

Mumtaz Qadri, 26, was convicted and sentenced for gunning down his boss, Punjab Gov. Salman Taseer outside a restaurant Jan. 4 in Islamabad, the BBC reported.

Qadri, a devout Muslim, confessed at the scene and said Taseer deserved to die for his opposition to Pakistan's blasphemy law.

The governor alleged the law was being used by majority Muslims to persecute Christians and Jews.

One of Qadri's defense lawyers told the British broadcaster Qadri saw the death sentence as a path to martyrdom.

"He was very happy with the decision and he accepts it -- as it means he has sacrificed his life for the prophet Mohammed," lawyer Tariq Muhammad Dhamial said. "My client is at peace -- he started reciting verses from the Koran after the verdict was read out."

Qadri has seven days to appeal, officials said.

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