[JURIST] Pakistani police on Friday announced [AP report] that eight of the ten men charged with the 2012 attack of teenage education activist Malala Yousafzai [BBC profile] were acquitted of all charges by an anti-terrorism court in April. This information is a correction of the reported conviction [JURIST report] of all ten militants to life in prison for their involvement in the attack. It is unknown why the police and public officials waited to release an accurate account of the closed trial proceedings. It is now reported that only two of the men were sentenced to life in prison while the other eight men were acquitted due to a lack of evidence. The prosecutor, Sayed Naeem, claims to have been misquoted following the trial and has filed an appeal of the acquittal of the eight men. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) [Al Jazeera backgrounder] claimed responsibility for the attack and the men on trial allegedly assisted in planning the assassination attempt.
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. 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. Several of the actual gunmen from the attack are believed to have fled across the border into Afghanistan, and Pakistani Taliban leader Mullah Fazlullah is wanted in connection with the crime.