Pakistani court declares Imran Khan jail trial illegal News
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Pakistani court declares Imran Khan jail trial illegal

A Pakistani court declared on Tuesday that the jail trial of former Prime Minister Imran Khan on charges of leaking state secrets is illegal, according to Khan’s lawyer Naeem Panjutha.”The proceedings and the trial conducted in jail premises in a manner that cannot be termed as an open trial stand vitiated,” Panjutha said, quoting the Islamabad High Court order.

Following security concerns and threats on his life, the state’s case against Khan proceeded to trial at the Adiala prison in Rawalpindi. Despite this being an unusual and rare occurrence, the court asserted that conducting a trial in jail is permissible, provided a duly established framework is adhered to. In the case involving Khan, however, such a legal framework was not established and adhered to. As a result, the court declared trial process null and void.

Imran Khan became Pakistan’s prime minister in 2018. He was then removed from office in April 2022 following a vote of no-confidence in Parliament. In October 2022, Imran Khan was barred from holding any position in the National Assembly, the lower house of Pakistan’s Parliament. Since then, over 150 cases have been registered against Khan.

The charges in the jail trial stemmed from a public rally last year. Khan brandished a letter to the crowd, asserting it to be a cipher from a foreign nation urging the downfall of his government. Later, Khan claimed that the country was the US and conveyed that the confidential diplomatic letter warned of severe repercussions if he strengthened ties with Russia. As a result of this incident, Pakistani authorities charged Khan with misusing the cipher’s contents to build a narrative that his government was ousted due to a US conspiracy, a charge denied by Washington.

Despite some charges against him being dropped, Khan remains in prison on charges stemming from a judicial remand. In Tuesday’s case, Khan faces a potential death sentence. As a result, he contends that the numerous charges are a deliberate attempt to sideline him from politics before a February election due to his disagreements with influential military figures.

Khan’s legal team refuted the government’s allegations and expressed concerns about his safety in prison, citing at least two attempted assassinations since his removal from power.