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7 indicted in connection with Bhutto assassination

From Shaan A. Khan, CNN
November 5, 2011 -- Updated 1517 GMT (2317 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: They were indicted in an anti-terror court in Rawapindi
  • Two police officers are accused of covering up the crime scene
  • Five others also face charges

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- Seven men, including two senior police officers, were indicted Saturday for conspiracy to commit murder in the killing of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, a defense attorney told CNN.

Bhutto was assassinated on December 27, 2007.

The two indicted police officers have been accused of security breaches and covering up evidence by hosing down the crime scene.

Malik Muhammad Rafique, a senior defense attorney for the officers, Saud Aziz and Khurram Shahzad, said there was "no evidence connecting the two men to criminal conspiracy to assassinate Bhutto."

Both officers pleaded not guilty and were released on bail, Rafique said. Five others were indicted for terrorism, murder, attempted murder and criminal conspiracy, he said.

The men were indicted in an anti-terror court in Rawalpindi. The proceeding was not open to the public.

The five men are suspected of having links with Beitullah Mehsud, the former leader of the Pakistani Taliban killed in a suspected U.S. drone strike in August 2009, Rafique said.

Bhutto had returned from a self-imposed, eight-year exile to run in the country's general elections in 2008. She escaped one attempt on her life but was killed by a 15-year-old suicide bomber while campaigning in Rawalpindi, the seat of Pakistan's military.

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