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Pakistan: Musharraf Charged In Bhutto Death
Pakistan's former military ruler Pervez Musharraf has been charged over the 2007 murder of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto.
"He was charged with murder, criminal conspiracy for murder and facilitation for murder," said public prosecutor Chaudhry Azhar.
Musharraf appeared briefly at the anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi, where he denied the charges.
He has been under house arrest near Islamabad since April 19, but appeared before the court in person.
"The charges were read out to him in the court. He denied the charges," said Mr Azhar.
Musharraf's legal team has dismissed the indictment.
"These charges are baseless. We are not afraid of the proceedings. We will follow legal procedures in the court," his lawyer Syeda Afshan Adil said.
Scores of security forces guarded the area around the court in Rawalpindi, the city where Bhutto was killed on December 27, 2007, and roads were sealed off for Musharraf's appearance.
The indictment follows lingering speculation about the possibility of a behind-the-scenes deal that could allow Musharraf to leave Pakistan without facing the courts and embarrassing the military.
Bhutto, twice elected prime minister of Pakistan, was assassinated in a gun and bomb attack after campaigning for elections that were won by her Pakistan People's Party in February 2008.
There was no public claim of responsibility for her murder.
Musharraf's government blamed the assassination on Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud, who denied any involvement.
He was killed in a US drone attack in 2009.
The Bhutto case is one in a series of court battles that Musharraf has faced over allegations dating back to his 1999-2008 rule, since he returned in March from four years of self-imposed exile.
The new government headed by Nawaz Sharif, whom Musharraf deposed in 1999, has said he should stand trial for treason for subverting the constitution and has appointed a committee to investigate him.
The offence carries the death penalty or life imprisonment.
The case has been adjourned until August 27.