Pakistan jails 5 top officers over links to banned group

Pakistan jails 5 top officers over links to banned group

PanARMENIAN.Net - A Pakistani military court has convicted five senior officers of links with a banned organization, BBC News said.

The most senior of the five, Brig Ali Khan, was handed a five-year prison sentence. The others received sentences of 18 months to three years.

The army did not name the organisation they were linked with.

But officials have in the past identified it as Hizb ut-Tahrir - a British-based Islamic group that is banned in Pakistan.

The army said the convicts have the right to appeal, but gave no further details.

Brig Khan was arrested following the killing of Osama Bin Laden in a US raid in Pakistan in May last year.

He was initially charged with conspiring to overthrow the civilian government, but some charges were later dropped.

Brig Khan has been highly critical of the Pakistani army command over its relationship with the US.

In his statement to the court, he said was being victimised for speaking out against officers who he said had let the al-Qaeda leader live in Pakistan for five years - and then allowed US forces to kill him.

During the court-martial proceedings witnesses - mostly army officers - told the court Brig Khan wanted to bring about an "Islamic revolution".

They said he was working with Hizb ut-Tahrir to establish a caliphate in Pakistan.

The group does not advocate violence but has been accused of links to militants.

The four others convicted are Maj Sohail Akbar, who received a three-year sentence, Maj Jawad Baseer, who got two years, and Maj Inayat Aziz and Maj Iftikhar, who received one-and-a-half year sentences.

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