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Pakistan trio face 'spot-fixing' tribunal in Doha

Mohammad Amir, Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif
Amir (left) and Butt (right) had appeals rejected but Asif (centre) did not appeal

Cricket's anti-corruption tribunal involving Pakistan players Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir opened in Doha on Thursday.

An independent panel will judge whether the trio committed spot-fixing offences in August's fourth Test against England at Lord's.

They were suspended in September amid charges of bowling deliberate no-balls.

Pakistan bowler Amir said before Thursday's hearing that he was confident of proving his innocence.

"I'm quietly confident I can come out of it with my head high," Amir, 18, stated. "I have done nothing wrong.

"I've played so many Tests [Amir has played 14 Tests] but this is going to be my toughest and hardest.


"Finally the time has arrived for me to prove my innocence. My lawyer has worked very hard on preparing this case."

The tribunal is scheduled to last no longer than six days, however judgment may be reached before 11 January.

The ICC - whose chief executive officer Haroon Lorgat said he will be "disappointed" if the players are found not guilty - believes it has prepared a strong case which requires proper scrutiny.

If found guilty of breaking the ICC's code of conduct, the trio could face life bans.

They were provisionally suspended and charged by the ICC, and were also questioned by Scotland Yard detectives in London about the allegations, which surfaced in August 2010.

Michael Beloff QC, who presided over the Code of Conduct Commission that rejected appeals from Butt and Amir in October, will chair the hearing along with fellow code of conduct commissioners Justice Albie Sachs of South Africa and Kenya's Sharad Rao.

Butt criticised the ICC for victimising Pakistan cricketers when his appeal was rejected, while Asif - who did not appeal - has made no statement since the suspension.

Thursday's proceedings began with a statement from the ICC presenting its case against each of the players, before Amir, Butt and Asif will be allowed to respond.

When those formalities are complete, the ICC will then detail its evidence, which will include testimony from witnesses both at the hearing and by telephone. Both the players and tribunal members can question witnesses.

The players will then present their defence, with witnesses again available for cross-examination.

Pakistan's Twenty20 and one-day captain Shahid Afridi will join coach Waqar Younis as witnesses at the request of the ICC, however it is not clear whether either's testimony will be used against their former colleagues.

Following closing statements, the tribunal will retire to deliberate on its verdicts before any sanctions are decided upon. How and when these might be announced to the players or the public has yet to be decided upon, although the ICC has said the players will learn of any punishment verbally "if time allows".

Speaking to the BBC in December, Lorgat said that the trio will be entitled to appeal against any ruling at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

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see also
Does cricket corruption loom large?
06 Jan 11 |  Cricket
ICC chief wants Pakistan decision
04 Dec 10 |  Cricket
ICC extends anti-corruption code
21 Nov 10 |  Cricket
ICC sets spot-fixing hearing date
12 Nov 10 |  Pakistan
Cricketers don't trust ICC - May
11 Nov 10 |  Pakistan
Pakistan's year in crisis
09 Nov 10 |  Pakistan
Cricketer Haider may seek asylum
09 Nov 10 |  South Asia
ICC 'impressed' with PCB measures
07 Nov 10 |  Pakistan
Pakistan suspend trio's contracts
03 Nov 10 |  Pakistan
Prosecutors handed 'fixing' file
17 Sep 10 |  Pakistan
Pakistan confirm trio to return home
10 Sep 10 |  Cricket
Accused trio return to Pakistan
11 Sep 10 |  Pakistan

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