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

The stunning announcement, which first came from Pakistan’s deputy police chief, Azad Khan, offered no explanation why authorities had failed to correct the facts sooner.

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.

The prosecutor said reporters misquoted him at the time. He refused to discuss the case further 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.

Malala’s media representatives in London declined to comment on the reports.

Malala was shot in the head by the Pakistani Taliban when she was returning from school in a vehicle with several other students. 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.

Malala won world acclaim for her campaign and last year was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The 17-year-old laureate enjoys huge popularity among many Pakistanis and has expressed an interest in going into politics in Pakistan.