Islamabad: Eight of the 10 militants reportedly jailed for their role in the 2012 attack on Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai have been freed, a Pakistani daily reported on Friday citing police.
“An anti-terrorism court had sentenced two attackers, Isarur Rehman and Izharullah, to life imprisonment, the rest of the eight alleged attackers Shaukat, Irfan, Suleman, Bilal, Zafar Ali, Arafat, Ikran and Adnan were set free,” The Express Tribune quoted regional police officer of Maland division Azad Khan as saying.
The courts are free to make their decisions, the police officer said, adding that the attackers might have been released after the court ruling reached the jail administration.
On media reports that all the 10 men were convicted and jailed for the attempted assassination of Malala were ‘secretly acquitted’, he said: “The case was not hidden and its details were all on the record of the judiciary.”
The court ruling was seen for the first time on Friday, more than a month after the trial.
District police officer Saleem Marwat said there were no covert deals.
“The two attackers charged were sent to district Haripur jail and are serving their sentence,” Marwat added.
Muneer Ahmed, a spokesperson for the Pakistani High Commission in London, said on Friday that the eight men were acquitted by the judiciary because of a lack of evidence.
Ahmed said that misreporting was behind the confusion that all the 10 men were jailed for life for their role in attack on the Nobel laureate.
Citing a security source, BBC reported that the trial was held at a military facility rather than a court and was shrouded in secrecy.
The details of acquittals emerged after the London-based Daily Mirror tried to locate the 10 reportedly convicted men in Pakistani prisons.
According to The Express Tribune, the militants admitted that Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan chief Mullah Fazlullah had masterminded the attack on Malala, which also left her two friends, Shazia Ramzan and Kainat Riaz, injured.