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Pakistan hangs four Taliban militants tied to school massacre

Officials have hanged four men in Pakistan who were involved in a school massacre that killed 151 people, most of whom were children. The attack shocked the country and led to new laws to speed up terrorism cases.

The four men were hanged early Wednesday at a civilian-run jail in the northeastern Pakistani city of Kohat, security officials within the country said.

The men, all said to be members of the Toheedwal Jihad Group, were convicted of taking part in a massacre last December that killed 151 people, including 134 children, at a school in the city of Peshawar.

The attack shocked the country and sparked a crackdown on extremism. This included the resumption of the

use of capital punishment

after a six-year moratorium. Since then, according to a report in November by Amnesty International, Pakistan has carried out nearly 300 executions.

Wednesday's hangings were the first executions carried out in connection with the massacre that took place nearly one year ago. The six gunmen who led the attack were killed. These are also the first executions of civilians by Pakistan's military court, established by constitutional amendment in the massacre's aftermath.

Pakistan's army announced in August that it

sentenced six militants to the death,

and the army chief issued a "black warrant" on Monday announcing that executions were imminent. The four men to be hanged were given a final meeting with their families on Tuesday night.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif stated earlier this month that they deserved "no mercy."

Over 8,000 prisoners are on death row in Pakistan, according to the country's Interior Ministry.

jtm/sms (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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