11 militants sentenced to death in Pakistan

The militants got death sentence for an assassination bid on a Pak army general that killed 10 people in 2004.
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Published on Feb 21, 2006 06:19 PM IST
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None | ByAssociated Press, Karachi

Eleven Islamic militants were sentenced to death on Tuesday for an assassination attempt on a Pakistani army general that killed 10 people in 2004, a judge said in an anti-terrorist court.

"The prosecution has proved its charges against you and the court is convinced," Judge Feroz Mahmood Bhatti said in a crowded courtroom in the southern city of Karachi.

After the sentence was announced, the 11 defendants raised their handcuffed hands and said together, "God is great!" They also said, "This sentence cannot put us down. We are in higher spirits."

Defense lawyer Mushtaq Ahmed said his clients would appeal. The attackers used assault rifles and bombs on June 10, 2004, to ambush the motorcade of Lt Gen Ahsan Saleem Hayat.

They missed their target but killed 10 people -- six soldiers, three police and one passerby.

Hayat was later promoted to vice chief of the army staff, the second highest position in Pakistan's military.

Karachi, Pakistan's largest city with 14 million people, has been hit by a string of terrorist attacks, most blamed on domestic Islamic militants who want President Gen Pervez Musharraf to end support for the US war on terror.

After Tuesday's sentencing, the chief suspect, Atta-ur Rahman, told reporters he was not surprised by the verdict and that court decisions would not stop the jihad, or holy war.

"If one Atta-ur Rahman dies, many more will come to replace me in this way of jihad," said Rahman, the alleged chief of Jundallah, a domestic Islamic extremist group.

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