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10 jailed by Pakistan court for attack on Malala Yousafzai

8th May 2015

An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan has jailed ten men for 25 years each for their involvement in the shooting of Malala Yousafzai in 2012. They were the first convictions for the attack.

Malala was targeted as a result of her campaign against the Taliban attempting to deny education to girls. Malala wrote an anonymous blog detailing life under Taliban rule at the age of 11, and is a vocal activist for girls’ rights to education. She was shot in the head in valley of Swat, north-west of the capital, Islamabad, as she travelled home from school. Two other schoolgirls were wounded in the attack, which Taliban militants claimed responsibility for, stating that they targeted her for “promoting secular education”.

A security official said that none of the four or five attackers were among the men who were sentenced on Thursday. However, a police official in Swat, who remains unidentified as he was not authorised to speak to the media, stated that they certainly “had a role in the planning and execution of the assassination attempt on Malala.”

Police believe that the gunman escaped across the border into Afghanistan. Several people, including the Pakistani Taliban leader, Mullah Fazlullah, a preacher from Swat, are wanted in connection with the attack on.

Malala was seriously wounded and taken to Britain for treatment, where she now lives. She cannot return to Pakistan due to Taliban threats to kill her and her family members.

Malala, 17, has become a symbol of defiance in the campaign against militants operating in ethnic Pashtun areas of north-west Pakistan. She won world acclaim for her campaign, and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014.