An influential US Senate committee has urged the Pakistan government to bring to justice the attackers of education campaigner Malala Yousafzai.
Senator Marco Rubio, chairman of a Senate Foreign Relations Committee Sub-Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Women’s Issues has written to Pakistani ambassador to the US Jalil Abbas Jilani, weeks after it was revealed that 8 of the ten militants jailed for life over the attack on the Nobel Prize winner have been freed.
“We urge the government of Pakistan to re-double its efforts in a transparent and public manner to bring those responsible for this brutal attack to justice,” Senator Rubio said in the letter.
The senator adds: “This past April, Pakistani officials announced that after a secret trial, all 10 suspects were found guilty for their roles in the attack against Malala and received 25 year prison sentences.
“Although we have serious concerns about the trial’s lack of transparency and general absence of information regarding the cases against these 10 individuals, we were encouraged to hear that the Pakistani judicial system was actively working to hold responsible for this heinous act.”
The letter continues: “That is why we are particularly alarmed by recent media reports that eight of the 10 convicted were actually acquitted of these charges against them,” the senators wrote, adding that these reports raise significant concerns about the transparency and the accountability of the country’s judicial system.
Pakistani authorities were widely criticized for trying the men in a closed military court and subsequently releasing most of them.
In his letter, Senator Rubio also called for an “honest and transparent accounting” of the events surrounding the case.
Malala was shot and seriously injured as she was returning home from school in October 2012.
She was targeted by the Pakistani Taliban over her campaign to get more Pakistani girls into education.