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23 April 2024

Pakistan army courts sentence 9 to death


Pakistan military courts have sentenced nine men to death for terrorism-related offences, the army said on Friday.

Pakistan has hanged more than 300 people since lifting a moratorium on death penalty in December 2014, many of them convicted in closed military courts which critics say fail to meet fair trial standards.

"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," an army statement said.

They include Muhammad Ghauri, a Pakistani Taliban member linked to an attack on a mosque in Rawalpindi which killed 38 people and injured 57 in December 2009.

Also sentenced were Harkatul Jehad-e-Islam activist Abdul Qayyum, who was linked to a car bomb suicide attack on the Inter Services Intelligence headquarters in the central city of Multan which killed seven people and wounded 72 in December 2009.

Two others were linked to attacks on soldiers, while five were said to be members of the sectarian outfit Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan who had killed five in the eastern city of Lahore.

Their trials took place behind closed doors, with no information on where or when they were held, how proceedings unfolded and scant details about their crimes.

Pakistan also amended its constitution to allow military courts to try terror suspects for a two-year period.

Supporters of the courts say cases previously dragged on for years and many suspects escaped punishment due to legal loopholes or intimidation of witnesses.