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Bhutto’s Husband Accuses Jailers

May 19, 1999

KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) _ The husband of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto accused his jailers of torturing him and denied police allegations that he tried to commit suicide, a colleague who visited him said today.

Asif Ali Zardari appeared weak and said he had neither slept nor eaten in three days, said Aftab Shaban Mirani, a former defense minister in Ms. Bhutto’s government.

Zardari, whose neck was red, swollen and bandaged, denied he tried to take his own life, Mirani told The Associated Press.

Ms. Bhutto has accused Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government of trying to murder her husband.

Mirani said he saw Zardari for 15 minutes late Tuesday in a stark cement room in the Criminal Investigation Agency center in southern Karachi. Zardari’s father was also there.

Zardari said he has refused to eat or drink anything for the last three days because he fears his jailers will try to poison him, Mirani said.

According to Mirani, Zardari told him: ``I am being tortured and they keep asking me questions for which I have no answers. They haven’t let me sleep in three days.″

Zardari is being questioned in the 1995 shooting death of retired Justice Nisam Ahmed. He is charged with murder in the 1996 shooting death of his wife’s estranged brother, Murtaza Bhutto. He has denied involvement in both killings.

He also faces several charges of corruption and abuse of power committed during his wife’s last term in power, which ended abruptly in 1996.

Last month, both Ms. Bhutto and Zardari were convicted of corruption, sentenced to five years in jail and fined $8.6 million. They are appealing. Ms. Bhutto, who is living in the United Arab Emirates, says she will not return to Pakistan unless she is guaranteed she won’t be arrested.

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