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TV shooting soldier faces death

A Pakistani soldier who shot dead an unarmed young man in an incident broadcast widely on TV, has been sentenced to death by an anti-terrorism court.

Five other soldiers and a civilian were given life sentences. All were convicted of murder, although an appeal against the verdict is likely to be made.

The verdicts appeared to be a relatively rare instance of Pakistani security forces being held publicly accountable in a case of troop brutality.

The Pakistani military establishment is still reeling from a string of other humiliations including the US raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

Sarfraz Shah, 18, was shot on June 8 after being detained by a group of Pakistani Rangers in Karachi. Video of the incident showed a man in civilian clothes wrestling a gun out of Shah's hand and kicking him towards the uniformed security troops.

Shah said it was just a toy gun as he pleaded with a Ranger who pointed his rifle at his neck.

At one point, he moved toward one of the Rangers with his arms outstretched, but he was pushed back, then shot twice in the hand and leg. While on the ground, he begged the Rangers to take him to a hospital, but they stood by as he writhed in an expanding pool of blood.

Shah was eventually taken to a local hospital and died shortly after from blood loss.

Pakistani security forces are often accused of using excessive force and killing unarmed civilians, typically those suspected of being criminals or militants. But Shah's killing drew a huge amount of public fury, and the suspects were quickly arrested.

Although Pakistan has the death penalty, it rarely carries out the punishment. Life sentences also are usually just 15 years.


From Belfast Telegraph