Musharraf′s custody for terrorism charges extended by Pakistani court | News | DW | 20.04.2013
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Musharraf's custody for terrorism charges extended by Pakistani court

Pervez Musharraf has seen his judicial custody extended 14 days by an anti-terrorism court. Lawyers have petitioned Pakistan's judiciary to try him for treason for imposing emergency law as president in 2007.

On Saturday, a Pakistani judge increased Musharraf's custody two weeks, to be served under house arrest, until the next hearing in a trial over his 2007 decision to fire and detain several judges. He is due back in court on May 4.

Police arrested Musharraf Friday on charges related to his sacking judges when he imposed emergency rule in 2007. On Thursday, Judge Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui had added terrorism to the charges Musharraf faced; others include conspiracy to murder opposition leader Benazir Bhutto in 2007 and an alleged role in the death of a rebel leader during a 2006 military operation.

Siddiqui accused Musharraf of spreading "fear in the society, insecurity amongst the judicial officers, alarm in the lawyers' community and terror throughout Pakistan."

High stakes, security

If convicted of treason, Musharraf could face a sentence of death or life in prison. The former military leader's supporters say the arrest order was nothing more than a settling of scores for Musharraf's dismissal of judges under the period of emergency rule.

Police and paramilitary leaders took Musharraf to the Islamabad courthouse in a white bulletproof Toyota Land Cruiser. Television showed Musharraf escorted into the courthouse by dozens of guards.

In 1999 Musharraf seized power in a bloodless coup that many had welcomed at the time: He installed himself as president in 2001 and was forced out and threatened with impeachment in 2008.

Nawaz Sharif, the elected prime minister Musharraf had ousted in 1999, stands as the front-runner in the May 11 general election, which the former president had hoped to contest when he returned to the country in March after four years of self-imposed exile.

mkg/msh (AFP, Reuters, AP)