Press Releases

Rubio, Boxer Call For Justice In Malala Yousafzai’s Attack

Taliban Responsible For Yousafzai’s Assassination Attempt Should Be Brought To Justice

Washington, D.C.– U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA), the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights and Global Women’s Issues, today urged Pakistan to provide an honest and transparent account of the events surrounding the case of the ten Taliban fighters allegedly responsible for the brutal attack on Malala Yousafzai.
 
“This past April, Pakistani officials announced that, after a secret trial, all ten suspects were found guilty for their roles in the attack against Malala and received 25 year prison sentences,” the senators wrote in a letter to the Pakistani Ambassador to the U.S., Jalil Abbas Jilani. “Although we have serious concerns about the trial’s lack of transparency and general absence of information regarding the cases against these ten individuals, we were encouraged to hear that the Pakistani judicial system was actively working to hold those responsible for this heinous act.
 
“That is why we are particularly alarmed by recent media reports that eight of the ten convicted were actually acquitted of these charges against them,” the senators continued. “These reports raise significant concerns about the transparency and the accountability of the Pakistani judicial system. As such, we respectfully request that the Pakistani judicial system provide an honest and transparent accounting of the events surrounding the cases against these ten individuals and continue its important work to bring all those responsible for the brutal attack against an innocent teenage girl to justice.”
 
Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani activist for education for girls and the youngest recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize. In 2012, while riding home from school, Taliban fighters boarded her school bus, asked for her by name, and shot her in the head. The attempted assassination sparked national and international support for Malala and girls’ education advocacy.
 
A PDF of the letter is available here, and the full text is below:
 
June 29, 2015
 
The Honorable Jalil Abbas Jilani
Embassy of Pakistan
3517 International Ct NW
Washington, DC 20008
 
Dear Ambassador Jilani:
 
We write to express our deep concern regarding the reported acquittal of eight of the ten men arrested for the 2012 attack on Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai and overall lack of transparency in their trial. We urge the government of Pakistan to re-double its efforts, in a transparent and public manner, to bring those responsible for this brutal attack to justice.
 
On October 9, 2012, Taliban gunmen boarded a school bus filled with children, asked for Malala Yousafzai by name and shot her in the head in a brazen assassination attempt. She had been targeted by the Taliban because of her public advocacy for the right of women and girls to receive an education. Extremists’ efforts to silence the fifteen-year-old activist were in vain. Despite all odds, Malala, who is now seventeen, has continued to champion the cause of girls’ education, an act that earned her the Noble Peace Prize in 2014.
 
This past April, Pakistani officials announced that, after a secret trial, all ten suspects were found guilty for their roles in the attack against Malala and received 25 year prison sentences. Although we have serious concerns about the trial’s lack of transparency and general absence of information regarding the cases against these ten individuals, we were encouraged to hear that the Pakistani judicial system was actively working to hold those who committed this heinous act responsible.
 
That is why we are particularly alarmed by recent media reports that eight of the ten convicted were actually acquitted of these charges against them. These reports raise significant concerns about the transparency and the accountability of the Pakistani judicial system.
 
As such, we respectfully request that the Pakistani judicial system provide an honest and transparent accounting of the events surrounding the cases against these ten individuals and continue its important work to bring all those responsible for the brutal attack against an innocent teenage girl to justice.
 
Sincerely,
 
Marco Rubio
 
Barbara Boxer