Pakistan army chief confirms death sentence to nine terrorists | News | DW | 01.01.2016
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Pakistan army chief confirms death sentence to nine terrorists

Army chief General Raheel Sharif announced the verdict for "hardcore terrorists," according to a military statement. More than 300 militants have been hanged since Pakistan reintroduced capital punishment late in 2014.

"Today, [the] Chief of Army Staff confirmed death sentences [were] awarded to another nine hardcore terrorists, who were involved in committing heinous offences relating to terrorism, including [the] attack on Parade Lane Mosque, Inter-Services Intelligence Headquarters, Multan, attacks on law enforcement agencies, kidnapping and killing civilians in Lahore. These convicts were tried by military courts," Pakistan's military media outlet, Inter-Services Public Relations, said on Friday.

The sentenced militants included Muhammad Ghauri, a member of the Pakistani Taliban, linked to an attack on a mosque for troops in Rawalpindi, around 15 kilometers away from the capital, Islamabad. Thirty-eight people died and 57 were injured in the bombing.

Abdul Qayyum, a member of the militant group Harkatul Jihad, was also sentenced to death for collaborating in a car bomb attack on the Multan headquarters of Pakistan's secret service, the Inter-Service Intelligence agency.

Two other militants, including a purported member of al Qaeda, were on death row for different attacks on soldiers, and five were sentenced because of their affiliation to the Sipah-e-Sahaba, a Sunni organization linked to the deaths of five Shiites in Lahore. Trials for all nine militants took place in military courts behind closed doors. No details about the extent of their crimes or the procedure were revealed.

Islamabad lifted a moratorium on executions in December 2014, after militants launched an attack on an army-run school in Peshawar, killing 134 children. The shooting provoked widespread outrage, prompting the government to reintroduce a law to execute terrorists. Since then, Pakistan has hanged more than 300 people.

Islamabad also amended its constitution to enable military courts to try suspects for two years. Supporters of these courts defend the practices, saying that cases used to drag on for years in civil processes, enabling suspects to intimidate witnesses and escape punishment due to loopholes in the law.

mg/msh (AP, AFP)

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