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13 Jan, 2020 13:13

Pakistan court annuls ex-president Musharraf’s death sentence

Pakistan court annuls ex-president Musharraf’s death sentence

Lahore High Court (LHC) has annulled the death sentence handed to former president Pervez Musharraf, ruling that a special court which found him guilty of high treason was unconstitutional, according to a government law officer.

Following the LHC ruling, the ex-president is now a “free man,” Ishtiaq A. Khan, Additional Attorney General of Pakistan, who represented the government in the case, told AFP. The whole process against Musharraf – including the creation of a special court – was deemed to be void.

LHC “has declared everything from the initiation of the complaint and its conclusion unconstitutional,” Khan said, as cited by Reuters.

Earlier in the day, Musharraf’s lawyer Azhar Siddique told the media outside the court that the judges have “nullified everything” against his client.

Also on rt.com ‘Mix of anomalies and contradictions’: Pakistan’s ex-leader Musharraf blasts his death sentence in court petition

Musharraf was sentenced to death in absentia on charges of high treason and undermining the constitution by the now-void special court in December last year. The verdict received a mixed reaction with Pakistan’s top military and government figures harshly criticizing the decision.

A provision to hang Musharraf’s body in front of parliament for three days, should he perish before the death sentence could be carried out, was included in the verdict by one of the judges and sparked a backlash. It was branded “unprecedented and despicable” by Law Minister Farogh Naseem, who called for the “mentally unfit” judge to be ousted.

Also on rt.com Pakistani military chief says Musharraf judgement ‘transgresses humanity, religion & culture,’ prompting lawyers’ condemnation

A controversial figure in Pakistan, Musharraf was a general and army chief when he seized power in a bloodless coup in 1999. The accusations of treason against him date back to 2007, when he imposed a state of emergency as he sought reelection as president.

Critics say Musharraf’s leadership was a setback for Pakistan. They accuse him of opening the country up to the CIA and its anti-terrorism program of targeted drone killings. They also believe he was linked to the assassination of his political opponent, Benazir Bhutto, in 2007. He has always firmly denied the allegation.

His supporters, however, believe he is a true patriot, who stood up to Islamist militants and staunchly defended Islamabad’s interests both at home and internationally.

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