Pakistan’s Imran Khan held in small, dirty prison cell, says lawyer

By Asif Shahzad

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) -Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan is being held in a small, dirty prison cell, one of his lawyer’s said on Monday after being given access to the former cricket star in jail as he prepares to appeal against his graft conviction.

Khan, 70, has been at the heart of political turmoil since he was ousted as prime minister in a vote of no confidence last year, raising concern about stability in the nuclear-armed country as it grapples with an economic crisis.

Police took Khan from his home in the city of Lahore on Saturday and transferred him to a jail in Attock district, near the capital Islamabad, where a court convicted him of graft charges arising from the unlawful sale of state gifts and sentenced him to three years in prison.

“I met Imran Khan who told me that ‘they’ve put me in a C-class’,” Naeem Panjutha, the lawyer, referring to conditions in the jail where he said he spent just under two hours with Khan preparing paperwork for filing his appeal.

“It is a small room which has got an open washroom where he said there were flies in the daytime and insects in the night.”

Khan’s legal team was also appealing to authorities to secure him better conditions in jail, Panjutha told reporters in Islamabad earlier.

Political prisoners are entitled to better “B-class” facilities, including access to television, newspapers and books.

A government spokesperson and the prison authorities did not respond to repeated requests for comment on the conditions in which Khan is being held.

The graft conviction, which Khan rejects as politically motivated, likely means he will be disqualified from running in a general election due by November.

ELECTION CALL EXPECTED

Khan’s arrest was the latest in a series of blows

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