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SLUG: 2-299730 Pakistan / U-S / Court (L)
DATE:
NOTE NUMBER:

DATE=17/02/03

TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT

TITLE=PAKISTAN / U-S / COURT (L-O)

NUMBER=2-299730

BYLINE=AYAZ GUL

DATELINE=ISLAMABAD

CONTENT=

INTRO: An appeals court in Pakistan has thrown out the death sentences

of two men who had been convicted of killing four Americans in the southern

city of Karachi five years ago. From Islamabad, Ayaz Gul reports.

TEXT: The four American oil workers were employees of Union Texas

Petroleum. They were gunned down along with their Pakistani driver on

their way to work in central Karachi in 1997.

Two years later an anti-terrorism court found two local political

activists, Ahmed Saeed and Mohammed Saleem, guilty of committing the

crime. They were both given death sentences in addition to seven-year

jail terms.

A defense lawyer told reporters on Monday that a provincial high court

in Karachi has thrown out the death sentences, citing a lack of evidence.

However, he says the court has upheld the jail terms.

The defendants are said to be members of a regional political party, the

M-Q-M, which dominates Karachi politically. It is now a coalition partner in the national government.

Charges against the party's self-exiled leader, Altaf Hussain, and seven other activists have also been dropped. Pakistan's government can appeal the ruling to the Supreme court. (SIGNED)

NEB/AG/KBK



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