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17 December 2019 20:36

Claus von Bülow Pervez Musharraf Pakistan

Former ruler, who no longer lives in country, was tried for imposing state of emergency in 2007 Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's former military leader who seized power in a coup, has been sentenced to death for high treason and subverting the country's constitution. The ex-president was on trial in absentia over charges relating to his suspension of the constitution in 2007 as he attempted to hold on to power. The trial was held in a closed anti-terrorism court in Islamabad and the full verdict was not made available. However, it was confirmed by the government law officer Salman Nadeem, who stated: "Pervez Musharraf has been found guilty of article 6 for violation of the constitution of Pakistan." Defying multiple orders, Musharraf, 76, was not present in court to hear the verdict. He was allowed to leave Pakistan in 2016 for medical treatment in Dubai and has remained there since.

The ruling is highly significant in Pakistan, a country where the military has always held a huge amount of power in the government, even during civilian rule, and has a very close relationship with the current prime minister, Imran Khan. This is also the first time a military leader has been sentenced for subverting the constitution. Musharraf was head of the armed forces when he led a military coup in 1999 that toppled Nawaz Sharif. The overthrown prime minister was put on trial and eventually forced to flee the country in exile. Musharraf became president in 2001 and stayed in power for seven years, overseeing a period that became notorious for oppression and rampant human rights abuses, and during which he survived multiple assassination attempts.

However, his decision to suspend the constitution in 2007 and impose emergency rule prompted mass protests and he was forced to resign in 2008 and move to self-imposed exile in London to avoid impeachment. The high treason legal proceedings began in 2014 after Sharif was re-elected prime minister. Musharraf has long been adamant that the trial was politically motivated. Last month, he issued a video recording from a hospital bed in Dubai in which he said he was not being given a fair hearing in the case, which was filed by the government in 2013. "I served the nation and made decisions for the betterment of the country," Musharraf said in the video.

In a strongly worded statement, the army said on Tuesday that the ruling had caused "pain and anguish" in the ranks and added: "The due legal process seems to have been ignored." It said the case had been concluded in haste and that Musharraf "fought wars for the defence of the country [and] can surely never be a traitor". Legal experts in Islamabad said Musharraf can challenge the order in the high court. Musharraf sided with the US in its "war on terror" launched after 9/11. His decision was criticised by religious parties and ushered in years of Islamist violence in Pakistan. Make informed decisions with the FT Keep abreast of significant corporate, financial and political developments around the world.

Stay informed and spot emerging risks and opportunities with independent global reporting, expert commentary and analysis you can trust. (CNN) Former Pakistan President and military ruler Pervez Musharraf has been sentenced to death in absentia for high treason following a six-year legal case. A three-member special court in Islamabad on Tuesday convicted Musharraf of violating the constitution by unlawfully declaring emergency rule while he was in power, in a case that had been pending since 2013. The 76-year-old former leader, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates for more than three years, has the option to appeal the verdict. Musharraf seized power in a military coup in 1999 and ruled Pakistan as President until 2008. He was indicted in 2014 on a total of five charges, including three counts of subverting, suspending and changing the country's constitution, firing Pakistan's chief justice, and imposing emergency rule. Read More How Verizon Media and our partners bring you better ad experiences To give you a better overall experience, we want to provide relevant ads that are more useful to you. For example, when you search for a film, we use your search information and location to show the most relevant cinemas near you. We also use this information to show you ads for similar films you may like in the future. Like Verizon Media, our partners may also show you ads that they think match your interests. Learn more about how Verizon Media collects and uses data and how our partners collect and use data. HuffPost is part of Verizon Media. Verizon Media and our partners need your consent to access your device and use your data (including location) to understand your interests, and provide and measure personalised ads. Verizon Media will also provide you with personalised ads on partner products. Learn more. Select 'OK' to continue and allow Verizon Media and our partners to use your data, or select 'Manage options' to view your choices.