World News

    Pakistan's Musharraf Charged with Murder in Bhutto Killing


    A Pakistani court has charged former military ruler Pervez Musharraf with murder in connection with the 2007 assassination of opposition leader and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

    Tuesday's indictment of Mr. Musharraf by a court in Rawalpindi marks the first time a former Pakistani military chief has been charged with a crime.

    Mr. Musharraf took power in a 1999 coup and later served as president until resigning under threat of impeachment by his opponents in 2008 and going into exile.

    Prosecutors charged him with murder, conspiracy to murder and facilitation of murder in the gun and bomb attack that killed Ms. Bhutto as she left a political rally in Rawalpindi on December 27, 2007.

    They did not specify how Mr. Musharraf is suspected of involvement in that incident.

    The former Pakistani leader appeared in court and pleaded not guilty, while his defense team represented by lawyer Afshan Adil dismissed the charges as false, fabricated and politically motivated.


    "Of all the offenses that he has been charged with, not a single case is applicable to the [former] president. I don't know how these proceedings are being carried out against him."


    American lobbyist Mark Siegel, a former Bhutto speech writer, has accused Mr. Musharraf of threatening her in a phone call before she returned to Pakistan from exile in October 2007. Siegel's U.S. law firm Locke Lord declined to comment when asked by VOA for his reaction to the indictment.

    The court adjourned the case until August 27.



    In a March 2012 article for the New York Daily News, Siegel said he believes Mr. Musharraf conspired to kill Ms. Bhutto because her party appeared on the verge of a landslide victory against his supporters in a 2008 parliamentary election.

    A U.N. commission of inquiry into the assassination released a report in 2010, saying Mr. Musharraf's government "failed in its responsibility" to protect Ms. Bhutto after she returned from exile with his consent to compete in that election.

    Mr. Musharraf blamed the assassination on Taliban militants and said he warned her of militant threats to her safety. A Pakistani government investigation released in 2012 concluded that Mr. Musharraf knew of the assassination plot in advance and ordered the destruction of evidence.

    The former president returned to Pakistan in March after almost four years in self-imposed exile in a bid to resurrect his political career. But, he has faced a series of legal problems since then.

    In the first major setback, Pakistani courts barred Mr. Musharraf from running in May's parliamentary election. In another blow, the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif began investigating him for treason on suspicion of violating the constitution multiple times while in power.

    Mr. Sharif's party won the May election, returning to the prime minister's post that he held until Mr. Musharraf ousted him in the 1999 coup and sent him into exile. Mr. Sharif returned to Pakistan in 2007 with Mr. Musharraf's consent and served in the opposition until his recent election victory.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.