UPDATE - Pakistan court hears Imran Khan's appeal against conviction

UPDATE - Pakistan court hears Imran Khan's appeal against conviction

Former premier, who was sentenced to 3 years in jail over corruption, challenged decision in high court


By Aamir Latif

KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) - A Pakistani court on Wednesday heard an appeal filed by former Prime Minister Imran Khan against his conviction in a graft case.

A two-judge bench led by Aamer Farooq, chief justice of the Islamabad High Court, issued notices to the prosecution and sought the trial record, Gohar Khan, one of Khan's lawyers, told Anadolu.

The appeal will likely be fixed for an earlier date, the lawyer said, meaning it could be heard within a few days.

On Aug. 5, Khan was sentenced to three years in prison in a case pertaining to concealing details of state gifts, and has subsequently been disqualified from holding public office for five years.

Currently imprisoned in Attock jail, about 88 kilometers (55 miles) off Islamabad, the ex-premier has said that the trial court's ruling is "not sustainable" and "liable to be set aside."

The plea said the verdict was passed “with the pre-disposed mind” of the trial court judge to convict and sentence the appellant “irrespective of the merits of the case.”

“This is a slap in the face to due process and fair trial and a gross travesty of justice," the petition read, requesting that the verdict be overturned, and Khan be acquitted of the charges.

- Khan's party ‘disappointed’

Khan's s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party has expressed "disappointment" over Wednesday's hearing.

In a statement, the PTI's core committee also accused the government of launching a campaign of "victimization" and "disinformation" against the jailed prime minister and other party leaders.

On Tuesday, the Federal Investigation Agency had summoned two members of Khan's legal team in connection with an inquiry related to fake Facebook posts of the judge who convicted Khan.

The party said it has also taken a "serious notice of threats to Khan's life."

There was no immediate comment from the government on PTI’s claims.

Since being removed from power last year, Khan has been campaigning for snap general elections, which are due later this year.

On May 9, he was arrested over some of the many corruption allegations he faces, which he denies and says are politically motivated.

In response, there were violent protests across the country, including attacks on state and military installations. Thousands of workers and leaders of his party have since been detained, and numerous senior deputies have also broken away.

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