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Pakistan top court overturns death penalty for Musharraf assassination attempt

The Pakistan Supreme Court [official website] on Wednesday overturned the death penalty for two civilians, Rana Naveed and Ameer Sohail, who were sentenced by an army appellate court for attacking the country's former military president Pervez Musharraf [BBC report; JURIST news archive]. Musharraf had survived two assassination attempts in December 2003, but civilians and police officers perished in the attacks [The Hindu report]. A military court had originally given a life sentence to Naveed and a 20-year jail term to Sohail, but the army appellate court converted those rulings to death sentences [JURIST report] in 2005.

Musharraf has been a controversial figure in Pakistan. Pakistan authorities pledged [JURIST report] in February 2012 to arrest Musharraf for his alleged involvement in the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto [BBC obituary; JURIST news archive]. Bhutto was assassinated in 2007 in a suicide attack at a rally in Rawalpindi after she returned from her exile [JURIST reports] in Great Britain and Dubai. In November 2011, an anti-terrorism court in Pakistan indicted seven people [JURIST report] in the assassination of the former prime minister. At that time, Musharraf was not charged despite allegations that he played a part in the assassination. However, his property was seized [JURIST report] by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) [official website] after an order rendered by Pakistani Judge Shahid Raffique due to Musharraf's failure to respond to multiple subpoenas. Those documents were issued because the FIA accused [JURIST report] Musharraf in the assassination of Bhutto.

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