The Slatest

Eight of 10 Men Reportedly Sentenced for Malala Yousafzai Attack Have Actually Been Freed

Malala Yousafzai at a British hospital with her father and two younger brothers in 2012 two weeks after she was shot in Pakistan.

Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham/Getty

On April 30, a prosecutor in Pakistan said that 10 men had been sentenced to 25 years in jail for helping plan the 2012 shooting of Malala Yousafzai, the women’s education activist who survived the attack (which took place when she was 15) and has since been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. But the court proceedings in question had been closed to the public, and when an official report on Yousafzai’s case was issued Friday, it indicated that eight of the men allegedly convicted had in fact been freed. From the New York Times:

“They were released for lack of evidence,” said Azad Khan, the regional deputy police chief, adding that the government would probably appeal the decision.

Mr. Khan emphasized that there was “no conspiracy or mystery” in the case and that the initial, mistaken reports of the convictions had stemmed from the secretive nature of the trial.

The BBC writes that the men who were actually convicted are now said to be the Taliban jihadists who actually carried out Yousafzai’s shooting, though earlier reports had indicated that those responsible for executing the attack had fled to Afghanistan. The level of uncertainty and secrecy involved in Yousafzai’s case is reportedly not unusual in Pakistan’s judicial system, whose handling of alleged religious militants is said to be particularly opaque.

Yousafzai and her family, meanwhile, continue to live in Birmingham, England, where they fled to seek medical treatment after her shooting.