The acquittals were revealed after reporters for the British tabloid The Mirror looked for the 10 men in prisons across Pakistan and only found two.

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MINGORA, Pakistan — The Pakistani police and the country’s public prosecutor said Friday that eight of 10 militants charged with involvement in the 2012 attack on teenage activist and later Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai were acquitted in April — and not sentenced to life in prison as reported at the time.

The acquittals were revealed after reporters for the British tabloid The Mirror looked for the 10 men in prisons across Pakistan and only found two.

The government announcement, which first came from Pakistan’s deputy police chief, Azad Khan, offered no explanation as to why authorities had remained silent for so long or why they had failed to correct the facts earlier.

In April, public prosecutor Sayed Naeem said 10 militants charged in the attack were all convicted by an anti-terrorism court and sentenced to life imprisonment. At the time, he said the court announced the ruling at an undisclosed location because of security concerns.

On Friday, Naeem said only two of the militants were imprisoned for life while the others were acquitted due to lack of evidence.

He claimed reporters misquoted him at the time. He refused to further discuss the case and only added that he had already filed an appeal against the acquittal of the eight men.

Naeem made his comments shortly after Khan spoke.

“I can only confirm that the anti-terrorism court in April had acquitted eight out of 10 militants accused of attacking Malala,” Khan said.

He said he did not know why the government or the public prosecutor had not clarified media reports about the sentencing of the men involved in attack on Yousafzai earlier.

Another senior Pakistani police officer, Salim Marwat, confirmed Friday that eight were acquitted in the April 30 court ruling but refused to elaborate.

Yousafzai’s media representatives in London declined to comment.

Malala was shot in the head and neck by the Pakistani Taliban when she was returning in a vehicle along with several other students from school. The militants targeted her because she advocated education for women. She was initially treated in Pakistan but was later flown to a hospital in Britain, where she now lives with her family.

Friday’s revelations have raised suspicions about the timing of the September 2014 arrests, which came just a month before Yousafzai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. She shared it with Indian children’s-rights activist Kailash Satyarti.

Pakistan says it has been doing everything possible to trace and arrest Mullah Fazlullah, the Taliban leader who ordered the attack on Yousafzai, now 17, and who is believed to be hiding in neighboring Afghanistan.