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Musharraf fails to appear in special court for his treason trial

Jan. 16, 2014 at 6:41 AM   |   Comments

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ISLAMABAD, Jan. 16 (UPI) -- A special Pakistani court, hearing the treason trial of Pervez Musharraf, adjourned Thursday as the former military ruler failed to appear.

The hearing was postponed until Friday after the retired general's lawyers told the three-member court Musharraf's ill health prevented him from appearing, Dawn.com reported.

It was the fourth time Musharraf had failed to make an appearance before the court in Islamabad.

In a letter to the court, his lawyers said doctors have recommended that Musharraf be taken to the United States for treatment, Dawn reported.

The court last week had warned it would issue an order against the former army chief if he did not come to the court Thursday.

Earlier this month, Musharraf was taken to a military hospital in nearby Rawalpindi after he complained of chest pain while traveling to the court. A medical report said he was suffering from artery blockage and other ailments.

His presence in the court is required for an indictment to be issued, following which the court will begin the trial.

The treason charge relates to Musharraf's suspension of the constitution and imposition of emergency rule in 2007. He held power until 2008 following a military coup in 1999 that ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Sharif, however, has returned as prime minister for the third time after winning elections last May.

If convicted on the treason charge, Musharraf could either face the death penalty or life imprisonment. He has dismissed the charge as politically motivated.

Musharraf has remained under house arrest on various charges since his return from exile in March.

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