Pakistani cricketers may face death penalty

A Pakistani lawyer has filed treason charges against some of the country's cricket players following corruption allegations - a charge which carries the death penalty.

Lawyer Ishtiaq Ahmed told AFP: "In my petition to the court I've said that this spot-fixing amounts to dishonesty to the nation and falls under the law of treason.

"The suspected players have let the whole nation down and abrogated the constitution of the country and if they are proven guilty they should be banned for life and their assets confiscated."

The case will be heard in the Lahore High Court today.

Investigations by British police and the International Cricket Council are already underway into a newspaper report alleging three Pakistan players had been bribed to fix incidents in last week's fourth Test against England.

London police have confiscated the mobile phones of Test captain Salman Butt as well as pace bowlers Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif, and the trio -- plus wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal -- have been questioned at the team's hotel.

The Pakistan team arrived in Taunton to play a warm-up game for two Twenty20 internationals and a five-match one-day series against England, which starts on Sunday.

PCB chairman Ijaz Butt said the players being investigated would not be suspended without proof of wrongdoing, however.

"There is a case going on over here with Scotland Yard," Ijaz told cricinfo.

On Monday, the police released on bail a 35-year-old man who had been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud bookmakers following the report in the News of the World newspaper.

According to the report, Mazhar Majeed, an agent who claimed to represent 10 Pakistan players including Butt, said Amir and Asif had bowled three no-balls between them by pre-arrangement in the fourth Test against England which finished on Sunday.

The report also cast doubt on the second Test between Pakistan and Australia in Sydney this year when the hosts staged a remarkable comeback to win by 36 runs after overcoming a 206-run first-innings deficit.

The scandal has outraged cricket fans in Pakistan and the country's federal sports minister, Mir Ijaz Hussain Jakhrani, said the players would be given "maximum punishment" if allegations against them were proved.


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Keith Goodlip
Isn't it GOOD to be Muslim.