Four death sentences for Pakistan killer of Zainab, 6

Four death sentences for Pakistan killer of Zainab, 6

A court in Pakistan has handed down four death sentences to a man charged with raping and murdering a young girl, in a case that shocked the country and sparked major riots in his home district.

Ali was arrested in January, two weeks after the body of 7-year-old Zainab Ansari was found in a garbage dump in Kasur, about 340 kilometers (210 miles) south of the Pakistani capital, Islamabad. Her death brought rampaging mobs onto the streets in search of her killer.

Police investigators said later that they had matched DNA from eight girls' bodies, including Zainab's, with the convicted killer, Imran Ali, 24. He has been sentenced to life imprisonment along with a fine of Rs 1 million for an unnatural act with a minor.

"When he was read the charges, we asked the court to let Imran Ali deliberate the matter for 40 minutes", the prosecutor said.

The man confessed to all eight attacks, including the death of Zainab. After her abduction, a CCTV footage showed her walking with a stranger near Peerowala Road.

Advocate Mehar Shakeel Multani, the private counsel for the suspect, had withdrawn his power of attorney after the suspect made confession before the trial court.

Her parents had gone to Saudi Arabia for pilgrimage at the time and she was left with relatives. On January 9, her body was recovered from a heap of trash near the Shahbaz Khan Road.

The young girl's brutal murder sparked outrage, with protests against police negligence flaring up across Pakistan.

The killing has reignited a debate about child protection in the district of Kasur, where police say a number of children went missing in 2015 after they uncovered a paedophile ring linked to a prominent family.

Zainab's father, Haji Muhammad Amin, had arrived in Kot Lakhpat to witness the verdict early this morning. At least two people have been convicted in connection with that case, reports Reuters.

However after heinous and vicious crimes were committed in Kasur - a Southern City in Pakistan's Punjab Province - involving 11 minor girls; the demand of carrying out public hangings have certainly been echoed in the society.

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