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Musharraf Skips Hearing As Pakistani Treason Trial Begins

Pakistan's former military ruler Pervez Musharraf could face the death penalty or life imprisonment.
Pakistan's former military ruler Pervez Musharraf could face the death penalty or life imprisonment.
Former Pakistani military dictator Pervez Musharraf has failed to show up for a hearing in the treason trial against him.

The no-show came after authorities said they found an explosive device near his home in Islamabad.

Musharraf's lawyers, citing the bomb scare, said it was too dangerous for their client to appear at the special tribunal in the capital.

"If the court can provide us assurances that [Musharraf] will be given complete security when he comes to appear before the court, then certainly he will come to the court," lawyer Muhammad Ali Saif told reporters.

"We have not refused to bring him, we have said nothing of the sort."

But Saif also said that Musharraf's legal team had questions about the constitutionality of the court and wanted them addressed.

"We have clear-cut doubts about the constitution of this court and the selection of the judges. We feel that it is our legal right to get a clarification to our basic objections regarding this matter," Saif said.

"And until this matter is decided, no one should compel us to produce Pervez Musharraf before the court."

The 70-year-old former general is accused of treason for imposing emergency rule in November 2007.

A conviction could mean the death penalty or life imprisonment. Musharraf has dismissed the charge as politically motivated.

He is also accused of several other charges in separate cases relating to his nearly decade-long rule.

On December 30, police defused a 2.5-kilogram explosive planted beside a road leading to Islamabad from a suburb where Musharraf lives.

His previous court hearing on December 24 was postponed due to a bomb scare.

Musharraf took power in a 1999 coup and ruled Pakistan until 2008.

With reporting by AFP, AP, and Reuters

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