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Pakistan's ex-PM Imran Khan given 10-year jail term for leaks, party says

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) -- A Pakistan court handed former Prime Minister Imran Khan a 10-year jail term on Tuesday for leaking state secrets, the former premier's media team said, his second conviction in recent months and just 10 days before the country's general election.

The case pertains to allegations that Khan had made public contents of a secret cable sent by the country's ambassador in Washington to the government in Islamabad.

Khan's party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), said both Khan and former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had been sentenced to 10 years each by a special court.

It said the party would challenge the decision and called it a "sham case."

"We don't accept this illegal decision," Khan's lawyer Naeem Panjutha posted on social media platform X, formerly Twitter.

It is the second conviction for the embattled former cricket star in recent months. He was previously sentenced to three years in a corruption case. While his jail term was suspended as he challenged the corruption conviction, it had already ruled him out of the country's general elections next week.

Despite being ruled out of the election, Khan's legal team was hoping to get him released from jail, where he has been since August last year away from the public eye.

The latest conviction means that is unlikely even as the charges are contested in a higher court.

Khan has been fighting dozens of cases since he was ousted from power in a parliamentary vote of no confidence in 2022.

Khan says the cable was proof of a conspiracy by the Pakistani military and U.S. government to topple his government in 2022 after he visited Moscow just before Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Washington and the Pakistan military deny the accusations.

The former prime