Bangladesh ex-PM sentenced to 5 years in jail

Bangladesh ex-PM sentenced to 5 years in jail

Amidst the high alert in Bangladesh, The former Prime Minister and opposition leader Zia has been convicted in a politically sensitive corruption case.

Judge Akhtaruzzaman read a short summary of the 632-page verdict in presence of Khaleda, who was wearing a cream-coloured saree and wearing a scarf and sat on a furnished chair.

The opposition leader is accused of abusing global funds that were offered to a children's trust, charges she claims to be politically motivated.

In the same case, her son Tarique Rahman and four others have been sentenced to 10 years in jail.

Prior to the verdict, BNP supporters had clashed with the police, who then fired tear gas shells to disperse the crowd. "I want you to promise [to vote for Awami League]", she added.

Numerous incidents of violence and intimidation and clashes between supporters of BNP and law enforcers were reported across the country. "Do not worry and be strong", Khaleda said while trying to comfort her weeping relatives.


BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said the main motive of the verdict is to keep Zia away from the upcoming election.

Khaleda's elder sister, her sisters-in-law, her younger brother, nephews and her lawyers accompanied Zia to the court.

Should Begum Zia be found guilty of embezzling over US$250,000 received in charity for an orphanage, she could be imprisoned and disqualified from running in elections due in early 2019.

Her party, the BNP, boycotted the 2014 elections which many see as blunder for her as she remained on the fringe of national politics.

Police have banned street protests and rounded up thousands of opposition supporters in a crackdown ahead of Thursday's ruling.

Many private schools declared a holiday on Thursday in anticipation of the verdict, while several ride-hailing services announced a day-long suspension of their operations.

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