Islamabad : Pakistan Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected an appeal of a convict for raping and killing a six-year-old girl and upheld his death sentence in a crime that drew nationwide condemnation and led to widespread protests across the country, according to a media report.

A three-judge bench at the Lahore registry, comprising Justices Asif Saeed Khosa, Manzoor Ahmed Malik and Mansoor Ali Shah, rejected convict Imran Ali’s appeal, upholding the death penalty handed to him by an anti-terrorism court (ATC), Dawn News reported.

The ATC gave him four counts of the death penalty, one life term, a 7-year jail term and Rs 41 lakh in fines.

The four death penalties were for kidnapping, raping and murdering the six-year-old girl, and for committing an act of terrorism.

Ali faces further charges in the cases of at least seven other children he attacked – five of whom were murdered – in a spate of assaults that had stoked fears a serial child killer was on the loose, the report said. He had appealed to the Lahore High Court against the sentence but his appeal was dismissed. The six-year-old girl went missing on January 4 and was found dead in a trash heap in Kasur on January 9. Her rape and murder had sparked outrage and protests across the country.

The heinous nature of the crime had seen immediate riots break out in Kasur – in which two people were killed – while the incident became a rallying cry for an end to violence against children.

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