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Pervez Musharraf appears in Pakistan court to face treason charges

By Sophia Saifi and Adeel Raja, CNN
updated 5:08 AM EST, Tue February 18, 2014
Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf speaks in London in 2010. Musharraf led Pakistan from 1999 to 2008, when he resigned and went into exile after being charged of violating the country's constitution in 2007. He returned in 2013, intending to run in national elections, but soon found himself entangled in legal trouble again. Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf speaks in London in 2010. Musharraf led Pakistan from 1999 to 2008, when he resigned and went into exile after being charged of violating the country's constitution in 2007. He returned in 2013, intending to run in national elections, but soon found himself entangled in legal trouble again.
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The former President appears in court after a string of no-shows
  • He faces charges of treason over his decision to impose emergency rule in 2007
  • His representatives have said he is confident of clearing his name

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf appeared for the first time in an Islamabad court Tuesday to face charges of treason over his role in imposing emergency rule in 2007.

Musharraf, a former military chief, has missed several other scheduled court hearings in his case, citing health or security concerns.

Musharraf, who ruled the country from 1999 to 2008, could face life in prison or receive the death penalty if he is found guilty of treason.

The former ruler went into exile in 2008, returning to Pakistan last year with the aim of running in the country's national elections. But his plans unraveled as he became entangled in a web of court cases relating to his time in power.

Musharraf indicted in Bhutto killing

in 2007, Musharraf declared a state of emergency, suspended Pakistan's constitution, replaced the chief judge and blacked out independent TV outlets.

Musharraf said he did so to stabilize the country and to fight rising Islamist extremism. The action drew sharp criticism from the United States and democracy advocates. Pakistanis openly called for his ouster.

Under pressure from the West, Musharraf later lifted the state of emergency and called elections in which his party fared badly.

Musharraf stepped down in August 2008 after the governing coalitiocn began taking steps to impeach him.

Prosecutors say Musharraf violated Pakistan's constitution by imposing the state of emergency.

Musharraf's representatives have said he is willing to face all charges against him and is confident of clearing his name.

READ: Ex-Pakistani President Musharraf hospitalized just before his trial

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