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Pakistan's former military ruler Pervez Musharraf sentenced to death for treason

By Darryl Coote
Pakistan's former military ruler Pervez Musharraf sentenced to death for treason
Former Pakistan President Gen. Pervez Musharraf has been sentenced to death for imposing a state of emergency in violation of the constitution in 2007. Photo by Roger L. Wollenberg/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 17 (UPI) -- A special Pakistani court sentenced the country's former military ruler Gen. Pervez Musharraf to death on Tuesday on charges of high treason.

The three-member Islamabad court handed down the unprecedented verdict against Musharraf in the drawn-out trial for imposing a state of emergency in violation of the constitution in 2007 to extend his near-decade rule of the country. The charges had been pending since December 2013.

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"Pervez Musharraf has been found guilty of Article 6 for violation of the constitution of Pakistan," government law officer Slamna Nadeem announced.

The 2-1 guilty verdict was issued under Article 6 of the Constitution that states "any person who abrogates or subverts or suspends" the Constitution by force or any other unconstitutional means will be guilty of high treason, which is punishable by death or life imprisonment.

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Musharraf seized rule of Pakistan in a military coup in 1999 and stood at the country's helm until his resignation in 2008. He has been in Dubai since March 2016 when he was removed from a no-fly list so as to receive medical treatment.

From a hospital bed earlier this month, the 76-year-old Musharraf called the charges against him "absolutely baseless" and that he was being "victimized."

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"I have served my country for 10 years," he said in the recorded statement. "I have fought for my country."

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The former military chief was admitted to the hospital early this month due to his deteriorating health.

Musharraf's counsel can appeal the verdict with the Supreme Court and if the verdict is upheld the president, armed by the constitution, has the ability to issue a pardon.

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