Imran Khan Set for Lengthy Prison Stay

Imran Khan Set for Lengthy Prison Stay

( – Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan took office in 2018, but his government removed him in 2022 when prosecutors accused him of corruption. He maintained it was a power move orchestrated by his political opponents and Pakistan’s military, which holds a great deal of power in the country. In fact, critics have accused Pakistan’s military of removing other politicians from power, banning them from holding office until they undergo rehabilitation. In the past week, Khan received a sentence of 24 years in prison.

Khan Jailed for Allegedly Selling State Secrets

On Wednesday, January 30, an anti-graft court sentenced Khan to 14 years in prison after finding him guilty of illegally selling state gifts. He maintained that he legally purchased the gifts and was not guilty of any wrongdoing. The court convicted his wife, Bushra Khan, on the same charges, and she also received a 14-year sentence.

According to Pakistani law, leaders can buy gifts from foreign heads of state and dignitaries, but they must disclose any earnings. Prosecutors accused Khan of purchasing luxury items from Saudi Arabia’s government at discounted prices, turning around to sell them for market value, but failing to disclose the sales.

One of the former prime minister’s senior legal aides, Syed Ali Zafar, said the entire display “is a drama” that violates “the Constitution and the law.” He believes the “punishment will be suspended soon,” according to The New York Times. Zafar said Khan’s legal team wasn’t allowed to give a final argument or cross-examine witnesses before the judge issued a ruling.

The Cypher Case

The 14-year sentence isn’t the only one Khan has received in recent days. The day prior, he received a 10-year prison term in a case media has dubbed the cypher case. Prosecutors accuse Khan of publicly divulging a classified cable, known as a cypher or cipher. The country’s ambassador in Washington had sent the message to Islamabad in 2022. Its contents appeared in the media, and officials accused Khan of leaking it, a charge which he denies.

However, despite his protests of innocence, a court found Khan guilty and sentenced him to 10 years in prison. His attorney, Naeem Panjutha, posted on X, formerly Twitter, that his legal team “[doesn’t] accept this illegal decision” and plans to appeal because they weren’t allowed to cross-examine witnesses, nor did they receive a real chance to represent him. Those legal proceedings occurred while Khan remained in jail.

A court sentenced Khan to three years last August for selling state gifts, but officials suspended the sentence. Despite the suspension, he remained behind bars due to the more than 150 legal cases against him, many of which remain unresolved.

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