Soldier who killed unarmed youth will hang

A Pakistani soldier who shot and killed an unarmed youth as he begged for mercy was sentenced to be hanged yesterday.

The incident, which was caught on videotape and repeatedly broadcast on television, triggered an unusual outpouring of public anger at the country's powerful military.

Five other soldiers and a civilian who were there when the youth was killed in a park in the southern city of Karachi in June were also convicted of murder and jailed for life.

The verdicts were a rare instance of Pakistani security forces being held publicly accountable over human rights abuses, which are allegedly widespread.

Sarfraz Shah, 18, was shot on 8 June after being detained by a group of Pakistani Rangers. A local TV journalist caught the incident on tape. The footage provoked public outrage, and the suspects in the case were quickly arrested and put on trial.

In a brief session at the anti-terror court that heard the case, Judge Bashir Khoso told the seven men they were guilty of murder and read out the verdicts.

The men were grim-faced, but otherwise did not react. Salik Shah, the victim's eldest brother, burst into tears after hearing the decision.

"I am satisfied with the verdict," he said outside the court. "It would somewhat console our sentiments that my brother's murderers have been sentenced appropriately."

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