Jumaat, 7 Februari 2014

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The Star Online: Metro: Central

Pakistan treason court summons Musharraf on February 18

Posted: 07 Feb 2014 03:00 AM PST

ISLAMABAD: A court trying Pakistan's former military ruler Pervez Musharraf for treason Friday ordered him to appear on February 18, the latest postponement in the long-delayed case.

The 70-year-old is facing treason charges, which can carry the death penalty, over his imposition of a state of emergency in 2007 while he was president.

He was first ordered before the tribunal on December 24 but has yet to put in an appearance, with bomb scares and health problems keeping him away.

The former general has been in a military hospital since falling ill with heart trouble while travelling to court on January 2.

On January 31 the court refused to grant him permission to go abroad for medical treatment and ordered him to appear on Friday.

But at Friday's hearing Judge Faisal Arab accepted a request from Musharraf's lawyers that he be excused until February 18.

The next hearing in the case will be on February 10, but Musharraf is not required to attend.

Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was the man Musharraf ousted from power in his 1999 coup, and his lawyers have said the treason case is an attempt to settle old scores through the courts.

They have also challenged the civilian court's right to try a former army chief, saying he is entitled to be dealt with by a military tribunal.

Security analyst Talat Masood, himself a former general, said Musharraf's failure to answer the court's call was degrading.

"He is giving an impression that he is defying law of the land and he is trying to run away from the rule of law," Masood told AFP.

"This is not a gentlemanly behaviour. His conduct should be more of an officer and a gentleman than a defiant person."

Musharraf has endured a torrid time since returning to Pakistan in March last year on an ill-fated mission to run in the general election.

Almost as soon as he landed he was barred from contesting the vote and hit with a barrage of legal cases dating back to his 1999-2008 rule.

The charges against him include the murder of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in December 2007.

So far, nothing has come of rumours that a backroom deal would be struck to get Musharraf out of the country before trial, to avoid a destabilising clash between the government and the powerful armed forces. -AFP

Australian drug convict to learn Indonesia parole decision

Posted: 06 Feb 2014 08:07 PM PST

KEROBOKAN, Indonesia, Feb 07, 2014 (AFP) - Australian drug trafficker Schapelle Corby is expected to learn Friday whether Indonesian authorities have agreed to grant her parole from a Bali prison.

Corby, whose case attracted huge public sympathy in Australia, will find out whether she is to walk free after nine years behind bars when Indonesian Justice Minister Amir Syamsuddin announces his decision in the afternoon.

She was sentenced to 20 years in jail in 2005 after being caught trying to smuggle 4.1 kilograms (nine pounds) of marijuana into the resort island of Bali hidden in her surfing gear the previous year.

Syamsuddin has said in the past he does not oppose parole for the 36-year-old although he insisted this week she will not get "special treatment".

As anticipation built in recent days that her release was imminent, hordes of Australian media have flocked to Bali and set up camp outside the infamous Kerobokan jail where she is held.

A crowd of some 60 reporters, cameramen and photographers were outside the prison Friday, an AFP reporter at the scene said.

Channel Seven has reportedly sent the biggest crew to Bali, with 17 staff dispatched from Australia and another seven locals on board.

Her sister Mercedes, with whom Corby will live on Bali if she is granted parole, arrived in the morning on a motorbike and had to fight her way through the scrum.

A media bidding war is reportedly in full swing in Australia that could see Corby earn millions of dollars for her tell-all story if she is released.

Syamsuddin has said he will strictly follow the law when deciding whether to grant Corby parole. He will base his decision on a recent assessment by a justice ministry parole board, whose views have not been made public.

"As long as she fulfils all the requirements and has the recommendation from the parole board... she will get her rights," he said.

If granted parole, Corby is expected to walk out of Kerobokan, in south Bali, within a short space of time, possibly by the weekend, after completing necessary paperwork.

But she will not be able to return to Australia until 2017. She needs to first complete her sentence and then remain in Indonesia for an additional year to fulfil the conditions of her parole.

The former beauty school student will instead live on Bali with Mercedes, who has a Balinese husband.

Corby, who has always steadfastly maintained her innocence, had her original sentence cut substantially. She received several remissions for good behaviour and a five-year reduction from the Indonesian president after an appeal for clemency.

Her parole bid was a complex, months-long process and speculation began mounting last year that she was on the verge of release, only for it to again run into problems. It sped up in the past week after the parole board finally heard her application.

The process has been complicated by the fact it is rare for Indonesia to release foreigners on parole. However Corby's bid received a boost last month when a French drug smuggler was given an early release.

While many in Australia support her early release, some in Indonesia have been against it, saying it amounts to special treatment.

Eight lawmakers on Thursday handed a letter of protest to Syamsuddin voicing opposition to Corby getting parole.

They said a decision to grant her early release would run counter to Jakarta's tough anti-drugs laws and would be inappropriate at a time when Australia-Indonesia ties were at a low after a row over spying. - AFP

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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