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Pakistani Man Gets Death Sentence in Governor's Murder

Supporters of religious group Sunni Tehreek hold a huge poster of Mumtaz Qadri, the confessed killer of a liberal Pakistani governor, during a rally to condemn the court decision against Qadri, October 1, 2011 in Karachi.

A Pakistani police officer has been convicted and sentenced to death for the killing of a liberal governor who opposed Pakistan's controversial blasphemy law.

A judge announced the verdict Saturday at an anti-terrorism court in a prison in the city of Rawalpindi.

Officer Mumtaz Qadri had confessed to killing Punjab Province Governor Salman Taseer earlier this year because of the governor's opposition to Pakistan's blasphemy law. The law mandates the death sentence for those who insult Islam. Qadri was a member of the governor's security team.

His lawyers said they will appeal the verdict.

As the verdict was announced, more than 100 people rallied in support of Qadri outside the prison. They called for him to be freed.

Taseer, a staunchly secular and progressive politician, was an outspoken opponent of religious extremism. He publicly led a charge to reform a blasphemy law that set harsh penalties for offenders. He also called for the release of a Christian woman condemned to death for allegedly making derogatory remarks about the Prophet Muhammad.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.