Pakistan court indicts Imran Khan for leaking state secrets - media

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges, media organisations in the country reported

December 13, 2023 04:14 pm | Updated 04:14 pm IST - Islamabad

Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan. | Photo Credit: Reuters

A Pakistani court on December 13 indicted former Prime Minister Imran Khan on charges of leaking state secrets, several media channels reported, delivering a fresh blow to the jailed leader's chances of contesting next year's federal elections.

The charge is related to a classified cable sent to Islamabad by Pakistan's ambassador in Washington last year, which Khan is accused of making public.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges, media organisations in the country reported. Khan has previously said contents of the cable appeared in the media from other sources.

A guilty verdict under the Official Secrets Act could bring up to 14 years in prison or even a death sentence, lawyers say.

It is the second time Khan has been indicted on the same charges after a superior court struck down an earlier indictment on technical grounds, saying the correct procedure had not been followed.

Khan says the cable was proof of a conspiracy by the Pakistan military and the U.S. government to topple his government in 2022 after he had visited Moscow just before Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Both Washington and the Pakistan military deny the charges.

The charismatic cricketer-turned-politician won the last general elections in 2018.

Khan has had dozens of legal cases filed against him, which he has denounced as an effort to banish him from politics. He has been convicted in one graft case and sentenced to three years in jail.

The sentence was suspended but he remains in prison in connection with other cases, including instigating violence and the official secrets case.

Khan also remains disqualified from contesting elections due to his conviction in the graft case, but his legal team are pushing for his release on bail and an overturning of the ban.

However, his indictment in the official secrets acts case has decreased his chances of being released from jail to campaign for his party in the lead up to the polls.

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