Dhaka (October 29, 2018): Bangladesh court on Monday sentenced former prime minister and opposition leader Khaleda Zia to another seven years in prison on corruption charges.
In her trial, Judge Mohammad Akhtar-uz-Zaman found the 73-year-old guilty of abuse of power and misusing 31.5 million takas ($375,000) destined for a charitable fund.
This fresh conviction is expected to further impede her chances of challenging Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who has been accused of stifling her opponents, in a general election slated for December. There was no immediate reaction from the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, but her lawyers have consistently described the trial as “political vengeance”.
Earlier, Former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia is already behind bars after being handed a five-year term in February on separate embezzlement charges.
That verdict triggered clashes between police and thousands of supporters of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party which Opposition Leader Khaleda Zia still leads from prison.
Earlier this month, Her family suffered another political blow when her eldest son and heir apparent to the opposition movement Tarique Rahman was jailed for life in absentia. He lives in exile in London.
Tarique Rahman was found guilty of playing a key role in a 2004 grenade attack on the political rally of Sheikh Hasina, which killed at least 20 people and injured the then opposition leader.