Published: Fri, February 09, 2018

Ex Bangladesh PM Jailed for Five Years for Corruption

Ex Bangladesh PM Jailed for Five Years for Corruption

She was convicted of embezzling $248,154 in donations meant for an orphanage trust established when she was prime minister from 2001-2006. "She can also seek bail".

The verdict could possibly bar Zia from contesting in the general elections as the country's constitution prohibits a convicted person with over two years jail-term from participating.

Thousands of Zia's supporters poured onto the streets of Dhaka ahead of Thursday's hearing and escorted her motorcade to the courtroom, despite the heavy presence of police deployed throughout the city. We have given all the accused the legal freedom to contest the case and, after having looked into the evidence, the court has given a judgment.

Violent clashes broke out between security forces and protesters in the Bangladesh capital ahead of the verdict. At least four people were injured in the clashes, he added. "The way the police dealt with the BNP supporters makes it clear that there are directions to the law-enforcers to avoid confrontation", said a diplomat based in Dhaka.

"We continue to call upon the Government of Bangladesh to provide the right to all individuals to freely express their political views, without fear of reprisal, and to hold elections that are free, fair, peaceful, and credible, reflecting the will of the Bangladeshi people", the spokesperson said. If the BNP boycotts the polls, like it did five years ago in 2013, then Hasina and her Awami League will rule without the spectre of a real Opposition - to the disappointment of Delhi.

Security was tight across Bangladesh in anticipation of the judgement by a special court in Dhaka with police checkpoints set up across the capital.

Rizvi urged the party men to take to the streets but not to indulge in any violence. Anticipating blockades and protests, the government had detained several senior BNP leaders, while several others have gone into hiding.

"We are just monitoring what the latest developments regarding this verdict and we expect that we will say something more once we have evaluated the situation", Farhan Haq, the deputy spokesperson for Guterres, said on Thursday answering a reporter's question about the verdict. Brad Adams, Asia director at HRW, said it was crucial for security forces to act with restraint at all times.

Zia's son Rahman, now a London resident, was expected to lead the BNP after his mother's retirement.

Bangladesh politics are deeply fractious, with rivals Hasina and Zia ruling the country alternately since 1991, when democracy was restored.

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