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Afghan tribunal convicts three men in BBC journalist murder case

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KABUL (Reuters) - A special tribunal in Afghanistan convicted three men involved in the murder of a BBC journalist shot dead in eastern province of Khost last year, officials said on Thursday.

Ahmad Shah, who worked for the BBC's Pashto language service as well as for Reuters, was killed by unidentified gunmen while he was on his way home last April. The BBC said Shah was its fifth staff member to have been killed in Afghanistan since the early 1990s.

The Special Anti-Terrorism Tribunal sentenced one of the convicted men to death and the others were sentenced to rigorous imprisonment. The case has been now been sent to a higher court to validate the tribunal's ruling, Jamshid Rasouly, a spokesman for the attorney general's office said.

As defence lawyers were not immediately available for comment, it was unknown whether they would challenge the verdict or seek a fresh trial in the higher court.

The Taliban denied having any role in Shah's killing.

He died on the same day that two bombs in Kabul killed 26 people, of whom nine were journalists and photographers, making it the deadliest day for media workers in Afghanistan.

The Islamic State(IS), a hardline militant Islamic group claimed responsibility for the bomb attacks.

Afghanistan was the world’s deadliest place for journalists in 2018, with 15 killed there over the year, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) in December 2018.

(Reporting by Hamid Shalizi, Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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