peshawar school aftermath
Rescue team members go through debris inside the Army Public SchoolZohra Bensemra/Reuters

Six militants who helped plan a deadly assault that killed scores of schoolchildren in the city of Peshawar, Pakistan, in 2014 were sentenced to death on Thursday 13 August.

"The sentences of death have been confirmed by the chief of army staff [Raheel Sharif]," reads a statement on the website of the public relations branch of the Pakistani military.

The attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar by Taliban terrorists on 16 December 2014 left 151 people dead — including 125 children — and 147 wounded. The extremists attacked with a combination of suicide bombs and automatic weapons in a massacre that lasted three hours.

Each of the attackers died in the assault. The militants sentenced to death are mainly members of the Toheedwal Jihad Group (TJG) and contributed everything from funding to harbouring suicide bombers in planning the assault. It was one of Pakistan's deadliest and most shocking terrorist attacks. A seventh jihadist was sentenced to life imprisonment for being "in league with the accused persons".

The government statement said: "The convicts were given fair trial by following all the legal formalities and offering/providing them legal aid and defence counsels," adding that each "admitted his offences before the Magistrate and the trial court".

The trials were held in secret. After public outrage following the attack, the government lifted a moratorium on executions and made changes to its constitution so terror suspects could be tried in military courts.

An eighth man was sentenced to death at the same time for planting an Improvised Explosive Device that killed three soldiers in the Pakistan Rangers in Karachi. The statement added: "The convicts have the right to file an appeal before the Military Court of Appeals."