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Apr 21, 1:22 PM EDT

3 Pakistani women confess to killing man over blasphemy

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ISLAMABAD (AP) -- Police say three female friends in a rare incident have confessed to killing a man for insulting Islam's Prophet Muhammad days after he returned from living in hiding abroad for 13 years.

Police Inspector Nadeem Ashraf, who is investigating the case, told The Associated Press Friday that the women were arrested this week for killing Fazal Abbas, who fled Pakistan in 2004 following accusations of blasphemy.

The incident came days after a mob in the city of Mardan lynched a university student over alleged blasphemy, drawing nationwide condemnation.

Ashraf said the women went to the man's home and shot him dead on Wednesday.

Blasphemy against Islam is punishable by death under Pakistani law, and the mere suspicion of blasphemy is enough to ignite deadly mob violence in the Muslim-majority country.

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