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10 Sentenced To Life For Attack On Teen Activist Malala

  • RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal

Malala Yousafzai, who is now 17, was awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.

Malala Yousafzai, who is now 17, was awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.

A Pakistani court has announced life sentences for 10 people convicted of involvement in the 2012 shooting of teenage activist Malala Yousafzai.

However, the AFP news agency reports that Ataullah Khan, the man suspected of firing the gun at Malala, is thought to be on the run in Afghanistan.

The antiterrorism court in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province announced the sentences on April 30.

In Pakistan, those receiving a life sentence must serve a minimum of 25 years in prison before becoming eligible for parole.

Authorities said those who were sentenced on April 30 were all associated with the Pakistani Taliban, Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

They were arrested in September 2014 during an joint operation involving Pakistan's army, police, and intelligence agencies.

Major General Asim Bajwa also has said that the current leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Maulana Fazlullah, was behind the attempt to kill Malala.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a court official told the German news agency dpa that the 10 convicted men confessed they had planned and helped carry out the attack on behalf of Fazlullah.

Fazlullah also claimed responsibility for a massacre in December 2014 at an army-run school in Peshawar, which killed 150 people, mostly children.

In January 2015, the U.S. State Department designated the Taliban commander as a global terrorist.

Fazlullah became the group's new leader in November 2013, after the previous leader Hakimullah Mehsud was killed by a U.S. drone strike.

Striving For Girls' Education

Malala was shot in the head on October 9, 2012, while she was sitting in a school bus in her hometown of Mingora in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province's volatile Swat Valley.

Two armed men stopped the school bus, and then one of them asked for Malala by name and opened fire at her from close range.

Two other girls from Malala's school were wounded in the attack.

Malala was airlifted to Britain for treatment and recovered after undergoing several operations.

Before the attack, Malala was known for her blog for the BBC's Urdu service about Taliban atrocities in the Swat Valley.

She also had become known as a human rights activist and an activist for the rights of girls to receive an education.

Malala's blog described how Taliban militants who controlled the Swat Valley from 2007 until 2009 prevented girls from attending school.

Since her recovery, Malala has won international praise for her fight for the right of all children, including girls, to an education.

Malala, now 17, was jointly awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize with Indian child-rights campaigner Kailash Satyarthi.

She is the youngest-ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

She was also awarded the 2013 Sakharov Prize For Freedom of Thought at the European Parliament in Strasbourg and other awards.

Malala now attends a school in Birmingham, England, where she lives with her family.

With reporting by dpa and AFP