Mohammad Imran, the man convicted of raping and murdering 7-year-old Zainab Ansari and killing at least seven other children in Pakistan, was executed on Wednesday at a prison in the eastern city of Lahore.
“Imran was taken to the gallows just before dawn and he has been hanged with a rope in the presence of a magistrate and a doctor,” local police official Mohammad Afzal told the The Washington Post on Wednesday.
However, reports said that Imran — who prosecutors described as a serial killer — was hanged also in the presence of Zainab’s father, Mohammed Amin Ansari.
Pakistan’s high court earlier rejected a request for what would have been a rare public execution.
The highly publicized death Zainab sparked public anger in Kasur, a city of less than a million people in Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous state. At least 13 children have been raped and killed there over the past two years — among them, the eight for which Imran was convicted in February.
Protesters in Kasur, angered at what they viewed as authorities’ indifference, destroyed police cars and tried to burn down a police station. Two people died in the protests.
“Zainab, in light of your martyrdom, we will seek accountability for all similar events in the past. We will not rest without that,” read a poster put up in Kasur after her death.
Ansari and his wife, Nusrat, were on a religious pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia in January when relatives informed him that his daughter had failed to show up for her Quran lesson.
Four days later, her body was found on a trash heap in the city of Kasur, near Lahore.
Zainab’s father sought to publicize his daughter’s death, spreading awareness with a photo of her that went viral.
Imran was arrested two weeks after Zainab’s body was found. Reuters reported police say they found DNA evidence linking him to the death of the girl and seven other girls. He admitted to raping eight boys and girls, and to killing six of them, according to police. He was sentenced to four death sentences.
As NPR’s Diaa Hadid has reported, anger over Zainab’s death not only from the her the deaths of her and the other children, but from a deeper resentment over government officials seen as “corrupt, inept, inefficient.”
“And they see them as being subservient to the rich and contemptuous of the poor. And most of the families whose children were killed here are quite poor,” Diaa said.
“In Pakistan, it had been seen as shameful to talk about sex abuse,” she reported earlier this year. “But after Zainab’s disappearance, some prominent Pakistani women spoke publicly about what they endured as children. A few dozen families across Pakistan also came forward to report that their children were abused, according to Sahil, a children’s rights organization.”