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The BBC's Mike Wooldridge
"A case that has deeply shocked the nation"
 real 28k

Iqbal's defence lawyer Najeed Faisal
"The sentence is against the constitution"
 real 28k

The BBC's Zaffar Abbas
"It is hard to imagine how this sort of sentence can be carried out in a public place."
 real 28k

Thursday, 16 March, 2000, 19:27 GMT
Serial killer fights execution
Javed Iqbal: Claimed there had been no murders
A serial killer of boys in Pakistan is to appeal after being sentenced to die in the same way as his victims.

Javed Iqbal, 42, who was convicted of killing 100 boys, faces being strangled, chopped into pieces and dissolved in acid.

This sentence is not inevitable. There is no law which allows a person to be hanged publicly

Iqbal's defence lawyer Najeed Faisal
Judge Allah Baksh Ranja in Lahore decreed too that the death sentence should be carried out before the public, at Pakistan's National Monument in Lahore.

The military government has already declared its concern about the nature of the sentence and pointed out Pakistan's international human rights obligations.

The defence says there will be an appeal to the High Court next week.

Iqbal's lawyer Najeed Faisal told the BBC: "This sentence is not inevitable. There is no law which allows a person to be hanged publicly, to cut up pieces of the body. It is against the constitution of Pakistan."

Strong emotions

However, the chief prosecutor in the case supported the judge, describing Iqbal as not a man, but a beast.

At the court it was said such a punishment drew on Islamic tradition.

Iqbal, who admitted the killings and then retracted his confession, claimed in court that there had been no murders, that it was all staged to highlight the vulnerability of street children at the hands of evil people.

But the judge was more impressed by an initial confession.

Three accomplices, including a 13-year-old boy identified only as Sabir, also were found guilty.

Two were sentenced to death, but Sabir was spared the death penalty and received a 42-year prison sentence.

The trial generated strong emotions in Pakistan, where such cases of serial killings are a rarity.

Throughout the trial, parents of the missing children held a vigil outside the courtroom, screaming abuse at Iqbal and demanding the death sentence.

Piles of children's clothes were recovered from Mr Iqbal's home
A BBC correspondent says many in Pakistan continue to question how nothing came to light about 100 deaths until Iqbal sought publicity himself.

In December last year Iqbal walked into the Lahore office of a leading newspaper and turned himself in.

He refused to go directly to the police saying he feared for his life.

The court heard that police found a vat at Iqbal's home containing the remains of two bodies.

Police also said they found pictures of 100 children, whom Iqbal confessed in a letter to having killed and clothes belonging to the victims.

Many of the murdered children were among the city's poorest.

Some were beggars, others were among the army of children who work on the streets selling goods, and still others had left home and never returned.

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See also:

15 Mar 00 | South Asia
Death for Pakistan serial killer
16 Mar 00 | South Asia
Few executions in Pakistan
16 Mar 00 | South Asia
The mind of a killer
01 Mar 00 | South Asia
Eyewitness: Trying a serial killer
13 Jan 00 | South Asia
Pakistan 'serial killer confesses'
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