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Pakistan coup leader sentenced to death for treason

PAKISTAN’s former military coup leader was sentenced to death for treason today.

General Pervez Musharraf seized power in 1999 and served as the country’s president between 2001 and 2008.

The charges against Mr Musharraf were in relation to his suspension of the constitution in 2007 when he imposed a state of emergency, in a move intended to extend his rule over the country, and placed several key judges under house arrest.

Mr Musharraf is now in Dubai after being allowed to leave Pakistan for medical treatment in 2016. He is said to be very ill and unlikely to return to Islamabad to face the sentence.

Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates do not have an extradition treaty and Emirati authorities are unlikely to arrest Mr Musharraf.

If he were to return to Pakistan, Mr Musharraf would have the right to challenge his conviction, which was made with a 2-1 majority in court.

A senior Supreme Court lawyer, Hamid Ali Khan, hailed the verdict as long overdue. “For the first time in the history of Pakistan a military dictator has been punished by a court of law,” he said.

But Pakistan’s military denounced the death sentence, saying that Mr Musharraf, “who has served the country for over 40 years, fought wars for the defence of the country, can surely never be a traitor.”

In a video from his hospital bed earlier this month, Mr Musharraf claimed the charges against him were “baseless” and that he has been “victimised” for serving his country.

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