8 militants jailed for attack on Malala secretly acquitted

London: As many as eight of the 10 men jailed for the 2012 assassination attempt on Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenage child rights activist who last year won the Nobel Peace Prize, have been set free, raising suspicion over the validity of the secret trial, a media report said today.

In April, 10 Pakistani Taliban militants were handed down 25-year jail sentences by an anti-terrorism court after holding them guilty.

Saleem Marwat, district police chief in Swat, where the attack on then 15-year-old Malala took place, separately confirmed that only two men had been convicted.

Ahmed claimed that the original court judgement made it clear only two men had been convicted and blamed the confusion on misreporting.

The acquittals emerged after reporters from the London- based Daily  attempted to locate the 10 convicted men in prisons in Pakistan, the report added.

The trial was held at a military facility rather than a court, a Pakistani security source said, and was shrouded in secrecy. Anti-terrorism trials in Pakistan are not open to the public.

Malala was targeted by Taliban gunmen while she was returning home from school in the town of Mingora by bus which the gunmen boarded and asked for her by name before shooting her in the head.

She was treated for her injuries in the UK and currently lives in Birmingham with her family due to Taliban death threats

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