- Sharif sentenced in corruption charges related to luxury London flats
- National Accountability Bureau court gave verdict after series of delays
- Nawaz Sharif has called the charges politically motivated
Sentenced to 10 years in jail for corruption, former Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif said on Friday that he is not a thief and that he will return to Pakistan soon. "I will continue my struggle from jail. This is a part of the struggle," Mr Sharif told reporters in London, his daughter Maryam Sharif sitting by his side. Both of them were convicted by an accountability court in Pakistan on Friday in one of the four cases of corruption against Nawaz Sharif - the Avenfield corruption case, which is related to the ownership of four flats in the posh Avenfield House in London. Maryam Sharif was sentenced to seven years in prison.
"(Nawaz Sharif) has been awarded 10 years imprisonment" over the purchase of high-end properties in London, defence lawyer Mohammad Aurangzeb told news agency AFP. Prosecution lawyer Sardar Muzaffar Abbas also said that the court had ordered the properties be confiscated.
The verdict comes three weeks before general elections in Pakistan on July 25.
Both Nawaz Sharif and Maryam are in London, attending to the former PM's wife, Kulsoom Nawaz, who was diagnosed with throat cancer last year and shifted to the UK for treatment. Since then, Maryam and Nawaz Sharif have made several trips back and forth from London to attend the hearings and attend to Kulsoom.
Nawaz Sharif wanted the announcement of the verdict delayed by a week, but that request was dismissed by the court on Friday. Mr Sharif had said he wanted to hear the judgement of the case while standing in the courtroom where he "endured more than 100 hearings" with his daughter.
Nawaz Sharif and Maryam were also fined heavily by the court. While Nawaz Sharif will have to pay $10 million, his daughter has been fined $2.6 million.
The court judgement runs over 100 pages.
The Avenfield case was among the four corruption cases filed against the former PM and his children by the NAB on the Supreme Court's orders in the Panama Papers case which disqualified Nawaz Sharif.
Nawaz Sharif, a three-time prime minister, resigned from the post last year after Pakistan's Supreme Court disqualified him from holding public office and ruled that graft cases be filed against him and his children over the Panama Papers scandal.
With inputs from PTI