SLUG: 2-299730 Pakistan / U-S / Court (L)
TITLE=PAKISTAN / U-S / COURT (L-O)
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
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)
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