Dhaka court sentences former Bangladeshi Prime Minister Khaleda Zia to five years on corruption charges
February 11, 2018, 0:40:01 CET | Wikinews

Saturday, February 10, 2018 


Politics and conflicts
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10 February 2018: Dhaka court sentences former Bangladeshi Prime Minister Khaleda Zia to five years on corruption charges
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On Thursday, Dhaka high court sentenced former Bangladeshi Prime Minister Khaleda Zia to a five year prison term for corruption. Her son Tarique Rahman and four others involved in the case were each sentenced to ten years.

Zia was prosecuted for embezzling ৳21 million (Bangladeshi taka; about US$250 thousand) from foreign donations to an orphanage while she was prime minister. 72-year-old Zia, who became the first female to head the Bangladeshi government in 1991, was sent to jail minutes after the ruling. Her son Tarique Rahman, who lives in England, was not present for the hearing.

Judge Mohammad Akhteruzzaman said Zoi "was given a shorter term considering her health and social status". According to the Law Minister Anisul Huq, Zoi can apply for bail and also go to the Supreme Court. Zoi's lawyer Khandker Mahbub Hossain said, "We didn't get justice. We'll go to the higher court". Per Bangladeshi law, if a person is jailed for over two years, they are ineligible to stand in election for a period of five years. Parliamentary polls of Bangladesh are scheduled to be conducted in December.

Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) leader Ruhul Kabir Rizvi said the ruling was "an attempt to eliminate the opponent" for the upcoming polls. Anisul Huq said the verdict "proves that Bangladesh has the rule of law and that no one is above the law". Huq also noted Zoi would not be eligible to run for the December polls if she loses the case in the Supreme Court after the appeal.

BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said, "this verdict will deepen the country's existing political crisis and will damage people's faith in judiciary". Thousands of supporters of Zoi gathered and protested against the ruling. According to news reports, protesters set fire to motorbikes, and police used teargas to disperse some crowds.

Source: Wikinews
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