Cricket Icon Jailed for 10 Years in ‘Sham Trial’ Before Pakistan Election

Akhtar Soomro/Reuters
Akhtar Soomro/Reuters

A court in Pakistan on Tuesday convicted former Prime Minister Imran Khan for revealing state secrets and sentenced him to a decade in prison, his latest legal punishment which comes just days before elections are due to take place.

The cricket legend, who is already serving a three-year jail sentence over corruption charges, was found guilty in the so-called “cipher case.” Khan was accused of leaking state secrets when he brandished a document at a rally that he claims provided evidence that his removal from power in 2022 was a U.S. conspiracy.

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The document was reportedly a cable sent between a former Pakistani ambassador to Washington, D.C. and Islamabad’s Foreign Ministry. Khan claims his ouster was plotted by his political opponents and the Pakistani military with the support of the U.S.—allegations which the military and U.S. have denied.

Khan refuted the charges in the cipher case, insisting that he did not disclose the precise contents of the cable. His deputy, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, had also pleaded not guilty in the case but was similarly convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Khan’s PTI party—which is currently banned from holding public rallies as part of a political crackdown—in a statement called the case a “sham trial” and reaffirmed solidarity with Khan and Qureshi “who defended Pakistan and stood for real independence.”

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