When Mumtaz Qadri confessed to the 2011 murder of Pakistani politician Salman Taseer, he said he did it because the Punjab governor had supported a Christian woman, Aasiya Noreen (also known as Asia Bibi), facing the death penalty for blasphemy.

Qadri, who was Taseer’s bodyguard, was himself sentenced to death, but appealed.

Four years on, his death sentence was upheld at a court hearing on 9 March, but terrorism charges were dropped, which, the BBC reports, makes it less likely he will be executed.

Qadri’s lawyer expressed “big relief” at the decision, saying that his client – who is seen as a hero by many in Pakistan – “sacrificed his life to uphold the honour of the prophet”.