Saturday, August 20, 2005

Pakistan hangs Musharraf attacker

BBC NEWS - A former soldier who was found guilty of conspiracy to assassinate Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has been executed.
Islamuddin Siddiqui, 35, was hanged at dawn inside a maximum security prison in Multan.

He was convicted for a failed assassination attempt on Gen Musharraf in December 2003 in Rawalpindi.

The president survived two attacks within days of each other, both on the road between Rawalpindi and Islamabad.

Siddiqui was part of a group involved in the first attempt, in which a road bridge was blown up using powerful explosives, but they missed Gen Musharraf's car by seconds.

A military court had found Siddiqui guilty of conspiring to kill the Pakistani leader.

'War on terror'

Siddiqui's appeals for clemency had been turned down by the military and by Gen Musharraf himself.

His father and some family members were present outside the prison and were immediately handed his body.

This is the first execution after several low-ranking army and air force officers were arrested for their alleged involvement in the two attempts on the life of Gen Musharraf.

Many of them are being tried by two separate military courts.

President Musharraf has been a target for Islamic militants since joining the US-led "war on terror" following the attacks of 11 September 2001.

He survived the first attack on 14 December thanks, apparently, to electronic jamming devices which blocked a signal to a remote-controlled bomb.

The blast destroyed a bridge minutes after his motorcade had passed over it. No-one was hurt.

Eleven days later two suicide bombers tried to ram explosive-laden vehicles into the president's limousine, killing 17 people.