Former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan jailed for ten years for 'leaking state secrets'

30 January 2024, 11:20 | Updated: 30 January 2024, 11:42

Imran Khan
Imran Khan. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

Pakistan's former Prime Minister Imran Khan has been handed a ten-year jail sentence for leaking state secrets.

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A lawyer for Khan, who served as prime minister between 2018 and 2022, said that the decision was a "sham" and "illegal".

The 71-year-old was accused of waving a secret cable sent from Pakistan's embassy in Washington DC to the foreign affairs ministry in Islamabad, the nation's capital, while speaking at a rally.

Khan said the contents of the cable were proof of a conspiracy by the US government and the Pakistani military to depose him. Both Washington and Pakistan have denied this.

He was already serving a three-year jail sentence on corruption charges in a verdict handed down last August, although this sentence was suspended later the same month. He has said that the corruption charges are politically motivated.

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Khan has remained in prison pending the outcome of the state secrets case.

His party Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) said that they would challenge the decision. His lawyer Naeem Haider Panjutha said: "We don't accept this illegal decision."

He added that "Imran Khan's fault was only that he said absolutely not while showing respect and honour, he stood up against this mafia."

It comes against the backdrop of the general elections on February 8, which Khan is barred from because of the corruption charges against him.

Khan, who also captained his country's cricket team in the 1980s and 1990s, was ousted from the premiership in April 2022 via a no-confidence vote.

He survived an attempt on his life at a political rally in November that year, before the corruption charges were brought against him in 2023.

Khan's arrest sparked widespread public unrest, with violent demonstrations. Authorities have cracked down on his supporters.