Pakistan frees 8 of 10 Malala 'attackers'

2015-06-05 19:30
Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai is pictured holding a backpack in Birmingham, central England, before returning to school for the first time. (Liz Cave, AFP)

Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai is pictured holding a backpack in Birmingham, central England, before returning to school for the first time. (Liz Cave, AFP)

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Peshawar - A Pakistani court has freed eight out of 10 people charged with organising the shooting of Pakistani schoolgirl activist Malala Yousafzai, police said on Friday.

Senior police official Salim Khan said the eight men were freed because there was not enough evidence to connect them to the 2012 attack. Police had said in April that all 10 had been convicted and jailed for 25 years each in a trial held behind closed doors.

"The only reason for their release was lack of proof against them," Khan said.

Pakistani Taliban militants claimed responsibility for attacking Malala as she travelled home from school in her home in Swat, northwest of the capital, Islamabad. She was shot in the head and airlifted to Britain for treatment, where she now lives. Two other schoolgirls were also wounded.

Prosecutor Naeem Khan said the men had confessed to attacking Malala, who became a global symbol of defiance after she campaigned for girl's education despite Taliban repression.

"During the trial, all the 10 persons had admitted and confessed their role in Malala's attack before the judge of anti-terrorism court. But only two of them, Izhar Khan and Israrullah Khan, were convicted while the remaining eight were freed on April 30 2015," he said.

The case will raise further questions over accountability and secret trials in Pakistan's heavily criticised justice system.

Trials are often held behind closed doors because judges, lawyers and witnesses fear retribution from militants.

Read more on:    taliban  |  malala yousafzai  |  pakistan

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