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Exiled former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf sentenced to death for treason

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By Caroline Mortimer  & AP
Pervez Musharraf pictured at his house in Islamabad, Pakistan, in 2013.
Pervez Musharraf pictured at his house in Islamabad, Pakistan, in 2013.   -   Copyright  B.K. Bangash, File   -   B.K. Bangash

Former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf has been sentenced to death on treason charges by a specially convened court in the country.

Musharraf, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Dubai since 2016, has been accused of unlawfully suspending the constitution and declaring emergency rule in 2007.

During the period he placed several key judges under house arrest in the capital, Islamabad, and elsewhere in Pakistan as he sought to extend his period in office.

The ruling Tuesday by a specially convened three-judge panel which was not unanimous and one of the judges had opposed the death sentence, according to one of Musharraf's lawyers.

After the sentence was announced, Pakistan's Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan told reporters that Prime Minister Imran Khan's government would “review in detail” the verdict before commenting on it.

Read more: Musharraf allowed to leave court despite arrest order

The 76-year-old ruled as President of Pakistan between 2001 and 2008 having originally seizing power in a military coup in 1999.

He was impeached in 2008 following his declaration of emergency rule and left for his first period of self-imposed exile in Dubai.

He returned in 2013 in a bid to fight to regain power but was disqualified from standing as a candidate and arrested on a series of charges related to his time in power during the government of his rival Nawaz Sharif - whom he had originally ousted in 1999.

Sharif himself was ousted in 2017 and was later convicted of corruption. He left Pakistan on bail earlier this month to travel to London for medical treatment.

Musharraf was allowed to leave Pakistan for Dubai in 2016 for medical treatment while the case was ongoing and has refused requests to return to the country.

He is unlikely to be extradited from the emirate to face his sentence in Pakistan as the countries have no extradition agreement.

But if he does return he would have the right to appeal his conviction.

Musharraf is the first former Pakistani leader to stand trial over his tenure and released a video statement from his hospital bed saying the accusations against him as “baseless”.