This post has been updated.
Ten men who plotted an attack on Pakistani activist and future Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai have been sentenced to life in prison.
On Oct. 9, 2012, Yousafzai, then 15, and two classmates were shot by a Taliban gunman in Swat, Pakistan. Militants behind the attack were identified last year, as the Express Tribune reported. The Pakistani army said they were members of a group called Shura, part of the nation’s Taliban.
An anti-terrorism court in Swat sentenced the men Wednesday. Authorities were criticized for the long investigation.
“This is a routine problem in Pakistan,” Pakistani political scientist Hasan-Askari Rizvi told the Daily Beast in 2012. “We don’t have proper investigations, our prosecutors are ill-equipped to handle terrorism cases, and there is no system to protect witnesses so no one speaks up.”
Some also sympathized with the attackers.
“People don’t want to speak out against these people because they agree with their ideology,” Rizvi said. “In those cases, many witnesses prefer to withhold evidence.”
Yousafzai, the author of the acclaimed book “I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban,” won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014. In the book, she wrote of the power of education in Pakistan — education threatened by extremist groups.
“For us girls that doorway was like a magical entrance to our own special world,” she wrote. “As we skipped through, we cast off our headscarves like winds puffing away clouds to make way for the sun than ran helter-skelter up the steps.”
“Despite her youth, Malala … has already fought for several years for the right of girls to education, and has shown by example that children and young people, too, can contribute to improving their own situations,” the Nobel committee wrote. “This she has done under the most dangerous circumstances.”
Yousafzai, fearing for her safety in Pakistan, now lives in the United Kingdom, where she received medical treatment after she was shot.
“I want to tell the students of U.K. to think that it is very precious, it’s very prestigious, to go to school,” she said in 2013. “Reading a book, having a pen in our hands, studying, sitting in a classroom is something very special for us because once we were deprived from it and because what we have seen in Swat.”
“Her new life continues to divide Pakistani public opinion,” reporter Saim Saeed wrote in Pakistan’s English-language Express Tribune last year, as The Washington Post’s Richard Leiby and Karla Adam reported. “Some see her position as Western stooge only cemented; her well-wishers see her as a powerful force to both combat religious extremism as well as an advocate for women’s rights.”