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Newspaper owner receives death sentence over two narcotics cases

(PPF/IFEX) - Special judge Syed Kazim Raza Shamsi of the Anti Narcotics Court today ruled in favour of a death sentence and a 1,000,000 Rs (approx. US$15,723) fine in each of the two narcotics cases against Rehmat Shah Afridi, owner of the English daily "Frontier Post" and the Urdu daily "Maidan".

Anti Narcotics Force (ANF) personnel arrested Afridi and allegedly recovered 21 kilograms of hashish from his car on 2 April 1999. Later, ANF also seized 651 kilograms of hashish from a truck, allegedly on information provided by the accused, and arrested the other two accused, Abdul Malik and Misal Khan. The court also awarded life imprisonment and a fine of 250,000 Rs (approx. US$3,930) each to Malik and Khan.

At the time of judgement, heavy contingents of police and other law enforcement agencies were deployed around the court premises. Reporters and lawyers were not allowed to enter the court while the court's judgement was being announced.

Afridi and the other accused are expected to appeal the decision in the higher courts.

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