A Pakistani tribunal Thursday sentenced 10 men to life in prison for their role in a 2012 assassination attempt on education activist and Nobel winner Malala Yousafzai.
“They have received life sentences for the Malala case, but there is further legal action ongoing against them too so their jail terms may be enhanced,” explained one lawyer who was involved in the case.
Life imprisonment is equivalent to 25 years in prison in Pakistan. Lawyers and government officials did not provided details about the sentencing, or if other legal action has been taken against the men, who have the right to make an appeal to the court.
Ms. Yousafzai, 17 years old, became famous worldwide after writing an online diary in which she told her experience with the Pakistani Taliban, who had controlled, between 2007 and 2008, much of the Swat valley, where she was born and lived. Her views on Taliban policies, especially their banning of girls’ education, stirred the group’s anger. The Taliban labeled her an enemy of Islam and a Western puppet.
In October 2012, Malala Yousafzai was on going home after school when two gunmen forced the school van to stop, and then shot her in the head. Two other girls were wounded. Malala was 15 years old at the time, but already an important figure in Pakistan because of her fight for women’s rights and education.
Ms. Yousafzai was kept alive by military doctors in Pakistan. After that, she was flown to the United Kingdom in order to receive treatment and she stayed in the country.
The Taliban were pushed out of Swat, once a tourist attraction in northwestern Pakistan, after a military operation in 2009. Militants continue to target community leaders whom they believe are collaborating with the government.
Lawyers in Mingora, the main city in the Swat valley, said the Pakistani Taliban chief is still wanted in connection with the assassination attempt on Ms. Yousafzai.
Pakistan’s army announced in September last year it arrested the 10 alleged militants which were accused of taking part in the attack on Ms. Yousafzai. A Taliban spokesperson rejected the military’s announcement, adding only three fighters were involved. The Pakistani Taliban have mentioned they would try again to kill Ms. Yousafzai.
For her campaign for girls’ education, Ms. Yousafzai received the Nobel Peace Prize last year, an award she shared with Indian children’s rights campaigner Kailash Satyarthi.
Image Source: International Business Times