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Thursday, April 15, 1999 Published at 13:28 GMT 14:28 UK


World: South Asia

Bhutto blasts 'Kangaroo court'


Benazir Bhutto has been giving her reaction to the court decision in Pakistan to sentence her to five years in jail on charges of corruption.


   Watch the interview in full

The case rests on documents made available by a Swiss investigating magistrate. But, in an interview with BBC World television, Ms Bhutto said the documents are forgeries.
Edited transcript of interview between Benazir Bhutto and the BBC's Stephen Cole

I know the Pakistani regime has been seeking my elimination, and to that purpose they have fabricated charges and sent them to judges who are close family associates of theirs.

Our defence witness was supposed to testify today. I have been denied defence witnesses in this trial.

My husband was allowed two defence witnesses, but when one of those witnesses came, be was suddenly told he could not speak.

I believe that this order was passed to try and divert international order away from Pakistan's ballistic tests yesterday, and the decision of a British court the day before, fining the Prime Minister's (Nawaz Sharif's) family over $30m.

Do you think this will end your political career?

I certainly hope not. The people of Pakistan know that these charges are (politically) motivated; that I have been denied a fair trial; that my lawyers were arrested during the course of the trial; that I was not even allowed a single defence witness.

The defence arguments were not even over. So what has happened is not a court trial, it's a kangaroo court -- it's the murder of a trial.

Will you be appealing -- is it worth appealing?

Yes, I think we will be appealing. I think the government wants this case heard before July, because in July they are going to appoint a new Chief Justice, and they want to bargain with the next Chief Justice over my fate.

So I want to talk to my lawyers to see how we can get this case heard afterwards, but I would also appeal to human rights organisations to come to Pakistan and examine the court record, because if they examine it, they will find that the person who acted wrongly was the judge, and not me.



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