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Wednesday, 10 October, 2001, 06:46 GMT 07:46 UK
Pakistan probes serial killer's death
Pakistani girl crying
The killings shocked Pakistani society
An inquiry has been launched into the death of convicted Pakistani serial killer Javed Iqbal who is reported to have committed suicide in prison.

Iqbal said he had started killing children after being maltreated by police
Iqbal and one of his two accomplices killed themselves by taking poison, according to an official at the jail in the city of Lahore where he was imprisoned.

However, the circumstances in which he came to obtain poison have not been made clear.

Six officials of the Kot Lakhpat Jail in Punjab province, where the two prisoners died, have also been suspended from service.

Forty-one-year old Iqbal was sentenced to death in March last year for killing 100 teenage boys.

He had surrendered to the authorities after confessing to the murders in a letter written to a newspaper.

The case was believed to be the worst of its kind in Pakistan's history.

Lawyer's doubts

Iqbal's lawyer, Faisal Najib Chaudhry, told the BBC that he was questioning the official version of his death.

Javed Iqbal wrote to me saying that he may be killed by the prison authorities.

Lawyer Faisal Najib Chaudhry
He said that Iqbal had written to him warning that he might be killed by the prison authorities.

"His letter is now on record at the federal sharia [Islamic law] court where Mr Iqbal's appeal against his conviction was pending," said Mr Chaudhry.

He said he was still waiting for the post-mortem report on Iqbal.

A potential witness in the case died in December 1999 after being taken in for questioning by the police.

They said at the time that he had jumped out of a window.

Death sentence

Iqbal was in prison awaiting execution and was appealing against his sentence.

At his trial, the judge caused controversy by ordering him to be strangled and then cut into pieces, which he said was a requirement of Islamic law.

The government moved to stem criticism of the ruling by saying it would not be implemented.

Pakistan's leading Islamic affairs advisory body also declared the sentence un-Islamic.

See also:

27 Mar 00 | South Asia
Serial killer sentence 'un-Islamic'
16 Mar 00 | South Asia
Serial killer fights execution
16 Mar 00 | South Asia
Death for Pakistan serial killer
01 Mar 00 | South Asia
Eyewitness: Trying a serial killer
03 Sep 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Pakistan
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