Former Bangladesh PM Khaleda Zia sentenced to jail

Former Bangladesh PM Khaleda Zia sentenced to jail

He said Zia, 72, was given a lighter prison term considering her "social status and age".

Plunging Bangladesh into turmoil, a Dhaka special court Thursday sentenced Opposition leader and former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia to five years rigorous imprisonment for corruption.

Tarique Rahman, Zia's elder son and the Senior vice chairman of BNP, was also handed a 10-year jail term in the case along with four others.

Zia's chief lawyer, Khandker Mahbub Hossain, said the verdict was "designed to keep her out of the next election - we will take it to the higher court and hope we will get justice there".

Khaleda Zia is a former ally turned arch-foe of the current prime minister Sheikh Hasina
Khaleda Zia is a former ally turned arch-foe of the current prime minister Sheikh Hasina

She was convicted of embezzling $248,154 in donations meant for an orphanage trust established when she was prime minister from 2001-2006. Khaleda started the trust in memory of her husband Zia-ur Rahman.

Khaleda Zia has always been in a bitter power struggle with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who heads the governing Awami League.

Zia's BNP said hundreds of its supporters were arrested in the run-up to the verdict, adding that it will hold protests on Friday against the conviction.

The BNP can not afford to stay away from the polls this time.

More news: Diane Kruger Defends Quentin Tarantino Following Uma Thurman's Comments About The Director

The BNP eventually boycotted the elections and became the opposition having no representation in parliament. But later in the evening, some incidents of violence were reported.

The leader of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), who wore an off-white sari and her trademark goggles, offered her prayers and comforted her relatives, most of whom, were in tears, as she left her Gulshan residence for the court.

Her lawyers said she planned to appeal against her conviction, and will mostly likely be freed on bail pending that process.

TV footages showed Ms Zia stood in gloom covering her eyes in a dark sunglass as the security forces escorted the vehicle to the nearby jail.

More news: Researchers Discover 100-Million-Year-Old Spider with Tail 'Frozen' in Amber

"By delivering the verdict, our judiciary has once again proved that no one in the country is above the law, no matter how powerful he or she is", he said at his secretariat office.

The possibility of the absence of Khaleda from the political amphitheatre may be significant for the BNP as political parties in Bangladesh - except the Jamaat-e-Islami, which is a religion-based political outfit - can not survive without faces.

The other accused are: former lawmaker Kazi Salim Haque, businessman Sharfuddin Ahmed, Khaleda's former principal Secretary Kamal Uddin Siddiqui and BNP founder Ziaur Rahman's nephew Momenur Rahman.

More news: Just weeks into 2018, banks rethink year-end bond yield forecasts

Related Articles