Kabul: A former Afghan police general
was jailed for 10 years and fined USD 14,000 on Tuesday for helping
drug traffickers smuggle opium across the country into Iran.
Mulham, 60, was in charge of border police in the
three western provinces of Herat, Farah and Badghis until his
arrest earlier this year on corruption charges over the
smuggling of 660 kilogrammes of opium.
Prosecutors alleged Mulham had received USD 93,000
in bribes, but the court found him guilty of taking only USD
7,000 and ordered him to pay twice that amount in fines.
"The jury has found you Mulham, guilty of having
helped and co-operated with drug smugglers while on duty, and
guilty of having taken 7,000 US dollars as bribes from drug
smugglers," Judge Hayatullah Hayat told the court.
"The court sentences you to 10 years in prison."
The police chief, who goes by only one name,
vehemently denied the charges, blaming them on vengeful
druglords, and can appeal against the verdict.
"I insist that I am a victim of political
conspiracy. I am proud of my career and past achievements. I
expected the judicial institutions of Afghanistan to be just,
and not to be influenced by anyone," he told the court.
The prosecution`s evidence was based on the
testimony of two policemen who appeared at the trial and who
have also been charged in connection with the case.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai is under pressure
from his Western backers to get tough on corruption, an issue
that the head of US-led NATO forces in Afghanistan, General
David Petraeus, has made a priority for troops.
Afghanistan is the world`s largest heroin producer
with annual exports worth up to USD three billion helping fuel
a nearly nine-year Taliban insurgency.