ATC hands three death sentences to Dr Weinstein’s kidnapper

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Hafiz Imran, a man accused of abducting an American doctor, Warren Weinstein, was handed three death sentences by an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in Lahore on Wednesday along with a fine of Rs 5 million.

Imran, son of Mohammad Yousuf, Wazirabad resident, allegedly abducted Dr Weinstein from his residence in Lahore in 2011 in connivance with other unidentified attackers.

Dr Weinstein had been in Pakistan for seven years and worked as the country director of Virginia-based development company, JE Austin Associates. Said to be in his 60s, Dr Weinstein was dependent on a number of medicines, including some given to acute asthma patients. He went missing two days before he was due to end his term and return to the US.

During the investigation, law enforcement agencies apprehended Saifur Rehman and Hafiz Imran who confessed their crime and were sent to judicial lock up.

In 2011, Al Qaeda’s chief Ayman Al Zahawari had claimed in a video statement that Dr Weinstein was in their custody and his organisation was responsible for the kidnapping. There were also some reports that he was being held in North Waziristan by Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.

In May 2012, Al Qaeda had also released a video of his as a proof that he was alive. The initial video was followed by three more videos in September 2012 and in December.

Saif and Imran also told the investigators about Afzaal Hussain and Imran Ahmed’s involvement in the kidnapping. Later, investigators received information that Hussain was killed in an encounter with Mansehra Police.

Local investigators had sent the challan of both the arrested accused to an ATC in Lahore, declaring them responsible for the crime. The challan also declared that the remaining two accused including Ayman Al Zahawari and Imran Ahmed were also proclaimed offenders.

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