Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan receives 10 years in prison for leaking state secrets

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A Pakistani court on Tuesday sentenced former Prime Minister Imran Khan to 10 years in prison for disclosing state secrets, his media team said, his second conviction in recent months and just 10 days before the country’s general election.

The case concerns allegations that Khan made public the contents of a secret cable sent by the country’s ambassador in Washington to the government in Islamabad.

Khan’s party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), said Khan and former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi were sentenced to 10 years each by a special court.

He said the party would challenge the decision and called it a “sham case”.

“We do not accept this illegal decision,” Khan’s lawyer Naeem Panjutha said on social media platform X, formerly Twitter.

This is the embattled former cricket star’s second conviction in recent months. He had already been sentenced to three years in prison in a corruption case. Although his prison sentence was suspended because he challenged his corruption conviction, it had already barred him from the country’s general elections next week.

Although he was barred from the election, Khan’s legal team hoped to have him released from prison, where he has been held since August last year, away from the public eye.

Driven from power in 2022

The latest conviction means this is unlikely, even if the charges are contested in a higher court.

Khan has fought dozens of cases since he was ousted from power in a parliamentary vote of no confidence in 2022.

Khan claims the cable was evidence of a conspiracy by the Pakistani military and the US government to overthrow his government in 2022, following his visit to Moscow just before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Washington and the Pakistani army deny these accusations.

The former prime minister previously said the cable’s content appeared in the media from other sources.

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