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Pakistan soldier sentenced to death for shooting unarmed civilian

Footage of the 18-year-old being fatally injured generated anger across the country after it was broadcast on TV.

Still from the video footage of Shah being attacked by soldiers in June 2011.
Still from the video footage of Shah being attacked by soldiers in June 2011.

A PAKISTANI COURT has sentenced a soldier to death for fatally shooting an unarmed civilian in an incident captured on video and broadcast on national television.

Five other soldiers and one civilian were also convicted of the murder, but received life sentences.

Eighteen-year-old Sarfraz Shah was shot while apparently pleading with armed Pakistani Rangers on 8 June. The incident drew huge criticism across the country after a local journalist released footage of the shooting.

The Rangers initially claimed Shah had been caught for stealing.

In the video clip (warning: contains graphic images), Shah is surrounded by the soldiers before being shot in the hand and leg. The Rangers are then seen standing around him as he lies on the ground bleeding and calling to be brought to hospital. Although he was later taken to a local hospital, he died as a result of blood loss.

Shah’s brother was in court for the verdict and burst into tears when the judge pronounced the seven men guilty.

Speaking outside the court, Salik Shah said:

I am satisfied with the verdict. It would somewhat console our sentiments that the murderers of my brother have been sentenced appropriately.

Death sentences are rare in Pakistan, and life sentences are generally about 15 years. Al Arabiya reports that this is the first time a civilian court in Pakistan has sentenced a serving serviceman to death.

Reuters reports that the soldiers are expected to appeal their sentences.

- Additional reporting by the AP

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