Pak military court sentences two former army officers for espionage

Pak military court sentences two former army officers for espionage

Islamabad, Nov 25 (PTI) Two retired Pakistani Army officers have been court-martialed and sentenced to rigorous imprisonment of up to 14 years for inciting sedition, it was announced on Saturday, indicating that military court trials of those accused of violence against military installations on May 9 have begun.

Major (Retired) Adil Farooq Raja and Captain (Retired) Haider Raza Mehdi, who live abroad and are critical of the senior Army leadership, were sentenced in absentia.

The Army said in a statement that they “were convicted and sentenced through Field General Court Martial (FGCM) under Pakistan Army Act, 1952 for the charges of inciting sedition among army personnel.' They have also violated the provisions of the Official Secrets Act, 1923 related to espionage and acts prejudicial to the safety and interest of the State, it said.

Major Raja was sentenced to 14 years of rigorous imprisonment, while Captain Mehdi was given 12 years of rigorous imprisonment.

Neither Raja nor Mehdi is likely to serve the sentence as they are based outside of Pakistan, the Dawn newspaper reported.

The convictions likely pertain to the May 9 incidents, when former prime minister and chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party Imran Khan’s arrest resulted in widespread violence and important military installations were attacked.

Raja and Mehdi host vlogs on Youtube. Raja, who is known for his pro-PTI stance, had moved to London last year following reports that he had gone “missing” from Islamabad.

In June this year, Islamabad’s Ramna Police Station booked four people, including Raja and Mehdi, for allegedly inciting a mob during the May 9 violent protests.

The court of competent jurisdiction convicted and adjudged both the individuals on October 7 and October 9, 2023, through due judicial process, the statement said, adding that the ranks of both officers were forfeited on November 21.

Both former officers remained absent during the proceedings despite several summons issued to them.

The Pakistan government had said that special military courts will try those who attacked sensitive installations on May 9 following Khan's arrest in an alleged corruption case.

Pakistan's powerful Army, which has ruled the country for roughly half of the country's history, has its own laws and courts, and military officers accused of wrongdoing are always tried behind closed doors. PTI SH NSA AKJ NSA NSA NSA

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