Jailed ex-Pakistan PM Imran Khan’s lawyers file legal challenge
Lawyers for former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan filed an appeal Tuesday against his conviction for graft, as he languished in a small cell in a century-old prison at the start of a three-year jail term.
The former international cricket star was arrested at the weekend and whisked to jail after being found guilty in one of the more than 200 cases he has faced since being ousted from office by a vote of no confidence in April 2022.
Unless overturned, the conviction will rule him out of contesting upcoming elections.
Pakistan’s election commission on Tuesday issued a statement officially disqualifying Khan for five years.
He is being held at a colonial-era prison on the outskirts of historical Attock city, around 60 kilometres (40 miles) west of the capital Islamabad.
“We’ve submitted an appeal… our plea requests a temporary suspension of the trial court’s ruling and seeks bail,” Khan’s lawyer Gohar Khan told AFP.
“The court will take up the case tomorrow and because the sentence is short we hope that Imran Khan will be granted bail in (several) weeks’ time.”
Another of his lawyers warned authorities would try to delay the process.
“Currently there is no rule of law in Pakistan, we are rushing from one court to another,” said Mishal Yousafzai.
On Monday, Khan’s spokesman Raoof Hasan told AFP the ex-leader was being held “in deplorable conditions not fit for any human”.
“But he is in good spirits… he said to ‘tell the people that I will not compromise on my principles’.”
– Tough conditions –
The 70-year-old is in a so-called “C-class cell”, sleeping on a mattress on the floor and with only enough room for a prayer mat.
There is little access to daylight, and a fan but no air conditioner in the summer heat, Hasan said.
Power of attorney allowed Khan’s legal team to file a bail application on his behalf Tuesday, and also appeal for him to be moved to a more comfortable “A-class cell”, usually reserved for VIP inmates.
At a court hearing that Khan did not attend on Saturday, a judge found him guilty of failing to properly declare gifts he received while in office and sentenced him to three years in jail.
Get the latest news delivered straight to your inbox every day of the week. Stay informed with the Guardian’s leading coverage of Nigerian and world news, business, technology and sports.