[JURIST] A Pakistan anti-terrorism court in the Swat region sentenced 10 men to life in prison on Thursday for their involvement in the 2012 attack on education activist Malala Yousafzai [BBC profile]. Yousafzai, then 15, was shot in the head [Al Jazeera report] on her school bus on her way home from school, and the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) [Al Jazeera backgrounder] had claimed responsibility for the act. None of her original assailants was among the 10 sentenced Thursday, but the men on trial allegedly assisted in planning [Guardian report] the assassination attempt. The exact charges against the men are unclear, as the trial was closed [BBC report] to media and the public. Several of the actual gunmen are believed to have fled across the border into Afghanistan, and Pakistani Taliban leader Mullah Fazlullah is wanted in connection with the crime. A life imprisonment sentence in Pakistan lasts for a period of 25 years. These were the first convictions related to the 2012 attack.
Yousafzai, now 17, was targeted for rallying against the Taliban’s efforts to keep young girls from receiving an education and against militants operating in the Pashtun area of Pakistan. Two other girls were injured in the shooting, but Yousafzai’s injuries were the most critical. After the attack she received treatment in the UK and remains there today. She and her family cannot return to Pakistan due to many Taliban death threats. Yousafzai was awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize [press release] for her campaign for children’s rights. She runs an international organization called the Malala Fund [advocacy website] to advocate for all girls to have the right to receive an education around the world.