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LAHORE: The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed Imran Ali’s plea against the death penalty in the rape and murder of seven-year-old Zainab in Kasur, observing that he had voluntarily confessed to the crime.

A three-judge SC bench comprising Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik and Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah dismissed the appeal and noted in the verdict that when the charges against Ali were being framed by the trial court, him had pleaded guilty.

It added that the convict had recorded a detailed confessional statement in which he had admitted to nearly every aspect of the case against him.

The court observed that the evidence presented by the prosecution had convinced the court that Ali’s confession was not only voluntary but also true.

Even though he had pleaded guilty to the charge, the verdict observed, the trial court had still proceeded with the recording of evidence.

It had recorded the statements of 32 prosecution witnesses, while several pieces of evidence against Ali were also brought on record.

“We have observed that even in his arguments addressed before the trial court, the learned counsel for the appellant had only prayed for lenience to be shown to the appellant in the matter of his sentence and no argument had been advanced... challenging the merits of the prosecution’s case,” the judgement said.

It added that in the memorandum of appeal filed in the Lahore High Court, the appellant had sought, once again, only lenience in the matter of sentence without questioning his convictions recorded by the trial court.

The bench ruled that apart from his confession, there were many pieces of evidence presented by the prosecution, including surveillance camera footage, photographs, DNA tests and medical evidence, which had confirmed every aspect of the confession the appellant had made.

The judges of the Supreme Court observed that the crimes he had committed were horrendous and barbaric. “The petitioner had not only deceitfully kidnapped her but had also brutalised her by committing sodomy and rape with her and had then ultimately killed her mercilessly,” the verdict said.

“In his pleading guilty to the charge as well as in his statement recorded under Section 342, CrPC, the appellant had admitted committing similar offences with eight other minor victims and in that backdrop the appellant did not deserve any sympathy in the matter of his sentences,” the ruling concluded.

An antiterrorism court had on Feb 17, 2018 awarded death sentence on four counts to Ali following a four-day jail trial at the Kot Lakhpat Central Jail.

The convict was separately given life imprisonment and a seven-year jail term, in addition to the death penalty.

The LHC had earlier dismissed an appeal filed by Ali in March this year and upheld the conviction by the trial court.

Published in Dawn, June 13th, 2018