Pakistani child killer to be executed

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The Independent Online

A court in Lahore has sentenced Pakistan's most notorious child killer to death. Javed Iqbal will be strangled in front of the parents whose children he was convicted of murdering.

Iqbal was sentenced to be publicly executed in a Lahore park for killing as many as 100 children. He can appeal his conviction and sentence.

After he is strangled, Judge Allah Baksh Ranja said Iqbal's body "will then be cut into a 100 pieces and put in acid the same way you killed the children" Iqbal told the court he was innocent.

Three accomplices, including a 13-year-old boy identified only as Sabir, also were found guilty. Sabir was sentenced to 42 years in jail, and the two other accomplices were sentenced to death.

Iqbal initially confessed to the killings in a letter last year to police. He said he strangled the children, dismembered their bodies and placed them in a vat of acid. He later recanted his confession.

In his letter to police, Iqbal directed officials to his home, where they found a blue vat in which the remains of two bodies were found. Police also found pictures of 100 children whom Iqbal in his letter confessed to having killed. They also found clothes belonging to the young victims.

Parents of missing children were contacted, and they waded through clothes and pictures to try to identify their missing children. Most were identified, however police did not recover any more bodies.

In January, Iqbal walked into the Lahore office of a leading newspaper and turned himself in. He refused to go directly to the police saying he feared for his life.

Many of the children were among the city's poorest. Some were beggars, others were among those who sold goods on the streets.

In his letter to police, Iqbal said he killed the children in retaliation for police abuse. He said he had been wrongly picked up and badly beaten while in police custody.

The search for Iqbal was one of the largest manhunts in Pakistan, where serial killings are rare. Dozens of people were picked up and questioned, including several of his relatives.

Throughout the trial, parents of the missing children gathered outside the courtroom, calling for the death sentence.