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Pakistani court hands life sentences to 10 men involved in Malala attack

A Pakistani court has jailed 10 men for their involvement in the 2012 shooting of teenage activist Malala Yousafzai. Each of the men received 25 years, which is considered a life sentence in Pakistan.

Thursday's convictions were the first for the attack that took place in October 2012. As Malala traveled home from school in Swat Valley, northwest of Pakistan's capital, Islamabad, gunmen boarded the school bus. One of them asked for the young teenager by name before firing three shots, one of which hit the left side of Malala's forehead and went into her shoulder. Two other schoolgirls were also wounded.

In early 2009, Malala wrote a blog under a pseudonym for the BBC detailing her life under Taliban occupation. Militants of the Pakistan Taliban later claimed responsibility for the attack.

Attackers still at large

According to a security official, none of the four or five men who carried out the attack on Malala was among those sentenced Thursday.

"But certainly they had a role in the planning and execution of the assassination attempt on Malala," the official said.

Police believe the gunman who shot Malala escaped across the border into Afghanistan.

Nobel Peace Prize winner

Shortly after the attack almost three years ago, Malala was airlifted to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, Britain, where she now lives. The 17-year-old and her family are unable to return to their homeland due to death threats from the Taliban.

Since recovering from the attempted assassination, Malala has become a symbol of defiance in the fight against militants operating in ethnic Pashtun areas in northwest Pakistan. She has been praised throughout the world for her campaign against Taliban efforts to deny girls an education. In 2014 she won the Nobel Peace Prize.

ksb/sms (Reuters, AFP, dpa)

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