Pakistani 17-year-old and Indian activist share peace award for “their struggle against the suppression of children”.
Islamabad, Pakistan – Ten men have been convicted and sentenced to life in prison by a Pakistani anti-terrorism court in connection with an attack on Nobel peace prize laureate Malala Yousafzai, court officials have told Al Jazeera.
Yousafzai was shot and critically wounded in a targeted attack on her life on October 9, 2012. Two schoolmates were also wounded.
On Thursday, Amin Kundi, a judge at the anti-terrorism court in Yousafzai’s native Mingora, sentenced the 10 men to life imprisonment for their involvement in the attack, for which the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) had claimed responsibility.
Life imprisonment in Pakistan is a period of 25 years.
The court named the convicted men as Bilal, Shaukat, Salman, Zafar Iqbal, Israr-ul-Rehman, Zafar Ali, Irfan, Izharullah, Adnan and Ikram.
They are said to be from various parts of the Swat Valley, and to belong to the TTP.
Four others have evaded capture and are widely believed to be hiding across the border in Afghanistan.
Taliban chief’s orders
Last September, the Pakistani military said it had arrested the men, and that they had received their orders directly from Mullah Fazlullah, the chief of the TTP. It said that it had also recovered the weapons used in the attack from the now convicted men.
The military said the first man to be arrested was Israr-ur-Rehman, who was one of the two men who fired the shots on Yousafzai, as well as her classmates Kainat Riaz and Shazia Ramzan. Rehman then gave up the identities of the others involved in the plot, according to the military.
Izharullah was named by authorities as the second gunman in the shootings. Zafar Iqbal was named by the military as the leader of the TTP cell that carried out the attack.
Of the three wounded girls, Yousafzai suffered the most serious injuries. She was rushed first to a Pakistani military hospital and then to the UK for further treatment.
She has since made a full recovery, launching the Malala Fund, a global NGO, which invests in education projects around the globe.
She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in December 2014, alongside Indian activist Kailash Satyarthi, but remains unable to return home, due to continuing threats against her life.
Follow Asad Hashim on Twitter: @AsadHashim