Ex-Bangladesh PM Khaleda Zia sentenced to 5 years in graft case

  • Ex-Bangladesh PM Khaleda Zia sentenced to 5 years in graft case

Ex-Bangladesh PM Khaleda Zia sentenced to 5 years in graft case

He read out selected parts of the 632-page verdict.

Law Minister Anisul Huq said Zia would be imprisoned later Thursday.

In the same case, Zia's eldest son and BNP's senior Vice-Chairman Tarique Rahman was given 10 years in jail.

The ruling came four years after Ms Zia and others were indicted in the case.

Prosecution sources told the Daily Star newspaper that Zia will be kept at the old Dhaka Central Jail. Zia, decked out in a cream-coloured printed chiffon sari and shawl, and sunglasses, appeared calm while hearing the verdict.

Minutes after judge Mohammad Akhtaruzzaman announced the court's verdict, security forces led Zia to jail.

"We will challenge the verdict in the High Court".

Meanwhile five police officers were so far injured in clashes with supporters of convicted Khaleda Zia in Dhaka while the police used tear gas to disperse the protesters. At least 24 activists were injured during the clashes locked with the law enforcers in the city.

Hasina was referring to the protracted blockade enforced by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its crucial ally jamaat-e-islami coinciding with the 2014 elections demanding polls under a neutral government. Party leaders said more than 3500 supporters have been detained over the past few days. "But we do continue to call for an inclusive and democratic process in the country".

In fact, it was also being whispered - loudly - in Dhaka that if elections were to be held in Bangladesh today, Hasina's Awami League would lose.

Police set up checkpoints at main entrances to Dhaka to prevent thousands of rural supporters of BNP and its allies from marching to the capital. On the way to the court her motorcade was joined and escorted by thousands of BNP leaders and activists and who defied law enforcers. The notice said inputs from intelligence agencies warned of efforts to destabilise public order. Brad Adams, Asia director at HRW, said it was crucial for security forces to act with restraint at all times.

Both women emerged from political dynasties.

Tarique is now in exile in London.

Zia served as prime minister from 1991 to 1996 and then from 2001 to 2006.

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".

The other convicts are former lawmaker Kazi Salimul Haque Kamal, businessman Sharfuddin Ahmed, ex-premier's principal secretary Kamal Uddin Siddiqui and her nephew Mominur Rahman. Zia faces a total of 37 cases, charge sheets have been submitted in 17 of them.