Court jails ex-Bangladeshi PM Khaleda Zia

Former Bangladesh PM Khaleda Zia Sentenced To Five Years In Jail In Graft Case

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

Judge Mohammed Akhtaruzzaman announced the verdict in a special court in Dhaka's Old City.

Zia, 72, was convicted of embezzling some Dollars 250,000 in donations meant for an orphanage trust, established in her late husband Ziaur Rahman's memory, when she was prime minister from 2001-2006.

The Court also awarded Khaleda Zia's son Tarique Rahman 10 years in jail for aiding her mother in the embezzlement.

Ruhul Kabir Rizvi Ahmed, spokesman for Zia's Bangladesh National Party, called on supporters to demonstate peacerfully against the ruling.

Khaleda and her Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) say the charges are part of a plot to keep her and her family out of politics.

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Traffic was thrown out of gear and shops closed as security forces took Zia to jail after the verdict.

Live television footage showed police firing tear gas at Zia supporters who threw rocks as they escorted the vehicle of the two-time former prime minister along the road to the Dhaka court building.

She said that in 2015, Zia declared she would not return home without toppling Awami League government and to make this happen, she opted for brutal violence sitting in her office. "I am confident she will come out of jail".

According to reports, Zia is involved in embezzling $248,154 from an orphanage built during her last premiership in 2001-2006.

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

The Bangladeshi capital had observed a total shutdown, in anticipation of the reaction of the verdict. An opposition spokesman told Human Rights Watch that thousands had been detained including members of the BNP, the Islamist political party Jamaat-e-Islami, and others not linked to any party.

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