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Criminal Justice

Former Pakistan president is accused in Bhutto assassination

Posted Aug 20, 2013 8:58 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Former Pakistani president and military leader Pervez Musharraf has been indicted on charges of murder and conspiracy in the 2007 assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

The basis for the charges is unclear, report the Associated Press and the New York Times. But the stories cite prior criticism of Musharraf. A 2010 report by the United Nations had said Musharraf failed to make serious efforts to ensure Bhutto’s safety before she was killed during a rally. The report also criticized investigators for hosing down the crime scene and failing to perform an autopsy.

The Times says the case is believed to rest on a statement by one of Bhutto’s friends, lobbyist Mark Siegel. He has said Musharraf made a threatening phone call to Bhutto before she returned to Pakistan in 2007.

Musharraf, who entered a not guilty plea, says the charges are politically motivated. He returned from exile to Pakistan in March and he now faces charges in several cases, including a potential treason charge related to the detention of judges.

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