Lawyers for former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf [JURIST news archive] filed an appeal to the Supreme Court on Thursday challenging the decision not to allow Musharraf's high treason charge to be tried in military court. A special court was set up in February to try the former president, denying [IANS report] Musharraf's request to be tried in military court. Musharraf is facing charges of treason [IBN report] relating to his unconstitutional declaration of emergency in 2007. Musharraf has repeatedly delayed appearing in court, first based [Reuters report] on fear of bomb threats and later on his failing health; he was admitted to the hospital for chest pains at the beginning of January. Appearing [BBC report] before a special three-judge panel, Musharraf was able to wave at the judges to acknowledge their presence but did not speak during the proceedings. He was reportedly present in court for only 20 minutes.
Musharraf has faced a variety of legal troubles since his return to Pakistan from self-imposed exile, though until now it was unclear whether he would ever actually appear in court. He had sought to delay his appearance for medical reasons and requested his travel ban be lifted to go abroad to seek medical treatment, a request the court denied [JURIST report] on January 31, instead issuing a "bailable" arrest warrant. Earlier in January the court rejected [JURIST report] Musharraf's contention that he was too sick to attend proceedings scheduled for January 16 and ordered him to appear, though he ultimately did not do so. Also currently ongoing are proceedings related to Musharraf's involvement in the 2007 Red Mosque killings and the death of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Musharraf was arrested [JURIST report] in October for his role in the Red Mosque massacre after nearly six months of house arrest for the charges relating to the death of Bhutto, for which he was formally charged [JURIST report] in August.