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Pakistan court gives death sentence to serial killer who raped, murdered 7-year-old girl

Police found the girl’s body in a garbage dump in Kasur district near Lahore in mid-January, days after she was reported missing.

world Updated: Feb 17, 2018 18:31 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Imtiaz Ahmad
Hindustan Times, Islamabad
Pakistan girl rape murder,Rape,Imran Ali
A slide showing a picture of Imran Ali suspected of being a serial killer responsible for the rape and murder of a seven-year-old girl is shown at a press conference in Lahore, Pakistan.(Reuters File Photo)

A Pakistani anti-terrorism court on Saturday gave the death sentence to a suspected serial killer for the rape and murder of a seven-year-old girl, a crime that had triggered protests across the country earlier this year.

The gruesome assault in Kasur town, located a short distance from the border of India, led to the setting up of a special task force which traced the rapist, 24-year-old Imran Ali, using DNA samples.

Ali was sentenced on four counts – murdering a child, kidnapping a child, raping a minor and committing an unnatural act with a minor. He was also given a seven-year sentence and fined Rs1 million for desecrating the body of the girl.

Ali will have 15 days to file an appeal.

The prosecution team’s lawyer said his team has brought the culprit to justice. “Our judiciary now uses DNA evidence like other countries to conclude a case,” he said during a media briefing after the verdict was announced.

The verdict was announced in Kot Lakhpat jail amid tight security. The trial was conducted in the prison for security reasons. The victim’s father was present for the verdict.

On Monday, the anti-terrorism court had indicted Ali and started regular proceedings after he refused to accept the charges levelled against him by the police. Judge Sajjad Ahmad also recorded the statements of 20 prosecution witnesses during proceedings that lasted 11 hours.

According to investigators, Ali took the girl to an under-construction house where he raped and killed her. He later threw her body at a garbage dump site near her home.

The girl was kidnapped from near her aunt’s house in Kasur on January 4 and her body was found five days later.

People attend the funeral of the seven-year-old girl in Kasur, Pakistan. (AP File Photo)

The public demand for the immediate arrest of the rapist resulted in an unprecedented search that was joined by almost all law enforcement and security agencies. During the search, DNA tests were conducted on more than 1,100 people living in the area.

The massive search led to the arrest of Ali, whose DNA sample matched those found on eight victims, including the seven-year-old girl. Mehar Shakeel, the lawyer for Ali, decided not to plead his case after he confessed to his crime.

Ali also confessed that he had raped and murdered nine girls. He will be tried for the rest of the cases later.

Residents of Kasur have said the murder of the seven-year-old girl was the 12th such incident in a year. Hundreds of people protested after the girl’s body was found, and two died when police opened fire to disperse them.

There have been complaints of a number of missing children in Kasur district since 2015, when authorities uncovered a paedophile ring linked to a prominent local family. At least two people have been convicted in connection with that case, in which authorities say hundreds of children were abused.

First Published: Feb 17, 2018 15:31 IST