Bangladesh ex-PM Khaleda Zia guilty of corruption

08 February, 2018, 16:16 | Author: Lucy Floyd
  • Bangladesh ex-PM Khaleda Zia

After the verdict, she was taken at the Woman Cell and Daycare Centre at the old Dhaka Central jail. She was also escorted inside the court by the police forces.

Ms Zia was led away to jail minutes after the verdict, bdnews24 reported.

According to the Daily Star, Zia was sentenced to 5 years of rigorous imprisonment by Special Court-5.

The verdict aroused anger among numerous BNP party men, some of whom in the court started crying.

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The private television station Somoy said at least five police officers had been injured and two motorcycles torched during the clashes that broke out several kilometres (miles) from the court premises.

She faces life in prison if convicted by the Dhaka court, but has consistently denied the charges, insisting "not a penny" was stolen.

Ahead of her graft case verdict, Zia on Wednesday once again pleaded not guilty in the charge.

"The Bangladesh government's claims to be open and democratic ring hollow as it cracks down on political dissent", Adams said. The same jail term was handed down to four of Zia's aides. They embezzled over Tk 21 million ($252,000) from foreign donations intended for a charity named after former president Ziaur Rahman, Zia's husband. She became the chairperson of the party in 1984, a post she is holding still today. The opposition has accused the government of arresting hundreds of supporters ahead of the verdict.

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The motorcade of Zia moved nearly at snail's pace on the way to the court as her supporters gathered on a key road.

Rapid Action Battalion soldiers stand guard on a street in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Bangladeshi police have imposed an indefinite ban on meetings, processions and rallies in the capital from Sunday evening, a step the opposition described as an attempt to mute dissenting voices.

The conviction means that Zia, the arch-rival of the current prime minister Sheikh Hasina, could be barred from running in December national elections.

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In the last election in 2014, Zia's party and its political allies boycotted the race, allowing Hasina to return to power with a landslide victory.