Asia

Pakistan army courts 'sentence six militants to death'

Pakistan army soldiers surround a Shia mosque attacked by suicide bombers and gunmen in Peshawar, Pakistan, Friday, Feb. 13, 2015. Image copyright AP
Image caption Critics oppose handing the army more powers

Military courts in Pakistan have sentenced six men to death in their first verdicts since being announced after the Peshawar school massacre.

Pakistan's army chief said the six men to be hanged were hardcore terrorists involved in heinous acts of terror, manslaughter and suicide bombing.

A seventh got life in jail. The men were named but no further details were given. They have the right to appeal.

Critics oppose ceding power to the army and say suspects' rights are at risk.

The authorities say the purpose of the courts is to try terrorism suspects speedily. They have dismissed warnings that there is a danger the courts will lead to summary and selective justice as "misconceptions".

The military was given the power to try terror suspects as part of plans to tackle insurgents after the Peshawar massacre.

Taliban gunmen stormed the Army Public School on 16 December. They killed more than 150 people, most of them children, causing outrage and revulsion in Pakistan and around the world.

Pakistan lifted a six-year moratorium on the death penalty following the attack.

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