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LAHORE: An antiterrorism court sentenced on Monday two men to life imprisonment for their involvement in the Kasur child abuse scandal.

The court also imposed a fine of Rs300,000 each on Haseem Amir and Faizan Majeed. The convicts were present in the court when Judge Chaudhry Mohammad Ilyas announced the verdict.

The prosecution had accused the convicts of sexually assaulting young boys and filming the acts to blackmail them.

Ganda Singhwala police had registered at least 15 FIRs against 13 suspects on charges of abducting, extorting and sexually assaulting around 280 children.

A joint investigation team had investigated the case and filed a charge-sheet against them.

In some cases, the court had ordered deletion of terrorism provisions from the FIR and referred the trial to a sessions court, which acquitted at least five suspects of charges other than that of the sexual assault.

Advocate Adnan Liaqat, the counsel for Haseem Amir and Faizan Majeed, said the conviction of his clients would be challenged in the Lahore High Court. The trial court awarded the punishment on the solitary statement of the alleged victim, he said, adding that the complainant, brother of the victim, admitted during cross-examination that he did not lodge any FIR.

The counsel said the suspects were not even witnessed in a video of the alleged sexual act presented by the prosecution before the court. The allegation was also not proved in the medical examination of the victim, he added.

Published in Dawn, April 19th, 2016