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Khaleda Zia gets 5-year jail for graft

09 February, 2018, 05:23 | Author: Kristen Ingram
  • Bangladesh opposition leader Khaleda Zia

A court in Dhaka sent on Thursday the former Prime Minister of Bangladesh and opposition leader to prison for five years for stealing from an orphanage trust.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda, both related to former national leaders, have dominated politics in poverty-stricken Bangladesh for more than two decades, and they have nursed a long and bitter rivalry.

After the verdict, she was taken to the Woman Cell and Daycare Centre at the old Dhaka Central jail, where jail authorities have already renovated her cell.

Her son, Tarique Rahman also received a sentence of 10 years in prison.

But thousands of BNP supporters defied a daylong ban on political gatherings and clashed with police in at least four areas in Dhaka.

"But it (the high court) may not suspend the order, which would come in the way of her participating in the polls".

Zia, however, had dismissed the charge by calling it politically motivated.

The Anti-Corruption Commission filed the case with Ramna Police Station accusing six persons including Khaleda and BNP's senior vice chairman and her son Tarique Rahman. The 72-year-old, who was taken to jail immediately, may be disqualified from contesting elections due in December this year.

Washington, Feb 9 The US has urged Bangladesh to ensure "fair trial" for ex-prime minister Khaleda Zia who was sentenced to five years rigorous imprisonment for corruption.

It is not yet clear if Zia would be able to contest elections as appeal courts in the past have given contradictory verdicts.

TV footage showed police using teargas shells on Thursday to break up street protests, as hundreds of Zia's supporters descended on the streets chanting slogans to support her.

Earlier at a press conference on Wednesday, Ms Zia blamed the ruling party - the Bangladesh Awami League led by Prime Minister Hasina - for unleashing a "reign of terror" and claimed that she was implicated in a "false case".

Khaleda Zia denies misusing global funds donated to a charitable children's trust and said the charges against her are politically motivated. "No way we will accept this verdict", BNP Secretary General Fakhrul Islam Alamgir told Agence France-Presse.

"The BNP has been in disarray, but the verdict can be a game-changer as it can give the cadres a rallying point that may yield rich dividends in the polls", a political analyst in Dhaka said.

The BNP had boycotted the last election held in 2014, demanding that the elections be held under a caretaker government.

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