A Pakistan court has handed former Prime Minister Imran Khan a 10-year jail term for leaking state secrets.
According to the BBC, the case pertains to allegations that Khan had made public contents of a secret cable sent by the country’s ambassador in Washington to the government in Islamabad.
Khan’s party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), said both Khan and former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had been sentenced to 10 years each by a special court.
It said the party would challenge the decision and called it a “sham case”.
“We don’t accept this illegal decision,” Khan’s lawyer Naeem Panjutha posted on social media platform X, formerly Twitter.
It is the second conviction for the embattled former cricket star in recent months. He was previously sentenced to three years in a corruption case. While his jail term was suspended as he challenged the corruption conviction, it had already ruled him out of the country’s general elections next week.
Despite being ruled out of the election, Khan’s legal team was hoping to get him released from jail, where he has been since August last year away from the public eye.
The latest conviction means that is unlikely even as the charges are contested in a higher court.
Khan has been fighting dozens of cases since he was ousted from power in a parliamentary vote of no confidence in 2022.
Khan says the cable was proof of a conspiracy by the Pakistani military and US government to topple his government in 2022 after he visited Moscow just before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Washington and the Pakistan military deny the accusations.
The former prime minister has previously said the contents of the cable appeared in the media from other sources.