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Pakistan Sentences Two To Life In Jail In Child-Sex-Abuse Scandal

Children whose families say they have been abused turn their backs to the camera as they are interviewed in their village of Husain Khan Wala, Punjab, in August 2015.

A Pakistani antiterrorism court has sentenced two men to life imprisonment for their role in a pedophile ring accused of abusing dozens of children in Pakistan's Punjab Province.

Discovery of the ring shocked Pakistan last year and led to a rare sanctioning of police officers for negligence after dozens of families came forward to say their children had been abused and then blackmailed by members of a wealthy family.

Residents accused a prominent family in the village of Husain Khan Wala of forcing children as young as 5 years old to perform sex acts on video, which they sold or used to extort money from victims' families.

The scandal led to passage of a law last month criminalizing child sexual abuse.

Haseem Amir, a member of a prominent family, and his friend Faizan Majeed were the first to be convicted and imprisoned in the scandal, their lawyer told Reuters.

Seventeen other people have been charged with sodomy and other abuses and are in jail awaiting trial.

Pakistani officials sometimes use antiterrorism courts to prosecute important cases because regular courts are perceived to be open to taking bribes from wealthy suspects.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP

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