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Pakistan Court Sentences Six 'Hardcore Terrorists' to Death

Pakistan's recently established military courts have sentenced what the army calls six “hardcore terrorists” to death for committing terrorist acts.

An army statement announced Thursday says the men were involved in “heinous offenses” - including manslaughter, suicide bombing and abduction for ransom. While announcing the first set of convictions, the army said a seventh man was sentenced to life imprisonment.

“The convicts have the right to file an appeal,” it added without explaining whether civilian or military courts would hear the appeals.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government set up the controversial military courts as part of stepped up counterterrorism measures in response to the militant attack against a school in Peshawar last December that left 134 children and 16 staff dead.

The government has set up nine military courts that have been provided legal protection through parliamentary legislation. Officials have confirmed more than 50 cases have been referred to the military courts.

Prime Minister Sharif also reinstated the death penalty within days after the school attack and 65 civilian prisoners on death row have since been hanged, while hundreds others are awaiting executions in the coming months.

Human rights groups are criticizing the executions and demand the government immediately halt them and re-impose the ban on capital punishment.

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