Pakistan cricketers lose appeal against jail terms

Pakistan cricketers lose appeal against jail terms

LONDON - The Associated Press
Pakistan cricketers lose appeal against jail terms

Salman Butt. Reuters photo

Two disgraced Pakistan cricketers will remain jailed after losing their appeals against their sentences in one of the biggest fixing scandals to rock the sport.

London’s Court of Appeal yesterday upheld the terms handed to Salman Butt and Mohammad Amir for their role in the spot-fixing case that marred a test match between England and Pakistan last year.

Justice Igor Judge said the cricketers betrayed their team, their country and their sport by conspiring to deliberately bowl no-balls as part of a betting scam.

Butt, the former Pakistan captain, was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in jail earlier this month after being convicted of conspiracy to cheat and conspiracy to accept corrupt payments.

The 19-year-old Amir pleaded guilty and was handed a six-month sentence in a young offenders’ institution. Mohammad Asif, who was sentenced to 1 year in jail for his part in the case, decided not to appeal. Agent Mazhar Majeed was sentenced to 2 years, 8 months.

The players were convicted of conspiring with Majeed to bowl no-balls at predetermined times during the fourth test at Lord’s in August 2010.

The cricketers were caught after Majeed was recorded by an undercover reporter working for News of the World saying that the three Pakistan players had accepted money to fix betting markets by bowling three no-balls at prearranged times.

It was the biggest fixing scandal in cricket since South Africa captain Hansie Cronje was banned for life in 2000 for taking bribes from bookmakers.

The court said what the Pakistani players did was “not simply a matter of breaking the rules of the game.”

“It is also criminal conduct of a very serious kind which must be marked with a criminal sanction,” the judge said.