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Pakistan’s Imran Khan appears via video link before a top court, for 1st time since his sentencing

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan’s imprisoned former Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday appeared before a top court via video link, his first such appearance since he started serving a three-year sentence for corruption nine months ago.

The hearing before the Supreme Court, was about his appeal in another case, dealing with graft laws, which were changed in 2022 and which Khan and his party believe were aimed at keeping him behind bars.

On Thursday, Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party said he did not get the chance to speak and his appearance was not live-streamed. The case was later adjourned, with no new date set for the hearing.

Khan, a former cricket star turned Islamist politician who served as prime minister from 2018 was ousted in a no-confidence vote in April 2022. However, he remains a popular opposition figure and millions of his supporters have been waiting to see him since August, when he was arrested after a court sentenced him for corruption.

A picture circulating on social media from Thursday’s hearing showed Khan in a blue shirt, sitting in a prison officer’s office to attend the court hearing via video link.

On Wednesday, a Pakistani court granted Khan bail in a graft case but he has no possibility of release anytime soon as he is serving multiple prison terms in other cases.

Khan has more than 150 other lawsuits filed against him since his ouster. He is serving several prison terms concurrently after being convicted in four cases.

Last year, Pakistan witnessed violent demonstrations after his arrest and the government has heavily clamped down on his supporters and party ever since.