Bangladesh opposition leader Khaleda Zia given 5 years in jail for embezzlement | World Defense

Bangladesh opposition leader Khaleda Zia given 5 years in jail for embezzlement

Hithchiker

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1388124/b...da-zia-given-5-years-in-jail-for-embezzlement
court in Bangladesh sentenced opposition leader Khaleda Zia to five years in jail on Thursday after convicting the two-time former premier of embezzling money meant for an orphanage.
Judge Mohammad Akhteruzzaman convicted Zia and sentenced her to five years in jail in a crowded courtroom, an AFP correspondent at the scene said. Following the sentence, Zia was taken to a Dhaka prison under heavy security.
The conviction means that Zia, the archrival of the current prime minister, could be barred from running in December national elections.
Defense lawyer Mahbubuddin Khokan said Zia had ordered him to appeal against the decision. "This is unbelievable," he said. "I am confident she will come out of jail."
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Violent clashes broke out between security forces and protesters in the Bangladesh capital ahead of the verdict.
Police fired tear gas at thousands of opposition activists who defied heavy security to escort the car taking Zia, a two-time former prime minister, to a Dhaka court for the verdict.
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 from the court premises.
Zia, leader of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), is charged with embezzling $252,000 from a trust created for an orphanage and faces life in prison if convicted by the Dhaka magistrates' court.
She has consistently denied the charges, insisting “not a penny” was stolen and saying the legal action was politically motivated.
Police had banned street protests and rounded up thousands of opposition supporters in a crackdown ahead of Thursday's ruling.
A senior officer told AFP more than 5,000 police had been deployed in Dhaka and the streets of the usually congested capital were almost empty of cars early Thursday.
“We have stepped up security in the entire city,” Dhaka police chief Asaduzzaman Mia told reporters outside the court.
Authorities have for days been on high alert for protests in the tense city, where political demonstrations by Zia's centre-right BNP and its Islamist allies in 2014 and 2015 left nearly 200 people dead.
'Arbitrary arrests'
The guilty verdict could prevent Zia, a former ally turned arch-nemesis of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, from contesting a general election slated for December.
The BNP boycotted 2014 polls in which Hasina was re-elected but is expected to contest the upcoming general election.
Zia, 72, has repeatedly said the charges against her are politically motivated, aimed at excluding her and her family from politics.
“This is an attempt to use the court against me, in an effort to sideline me from politics and elections and to isolate me from the people,” Zia told a packed news conference on Wednesday.
BNP spokesman Rizvi Ahmed has said around 3,500 opposition activists and officials have been arrested in a sweep by security forces ahead of the verdict.
Human Rights Watch on Thursday urged the government to stop what it called “arbitrary arrests and detentions”.
“The Bangladesh government's claims to be open and democratic ring hollow as it cracks down on political dissent,” said the group's Asia director Brad Adams.
“The government has a responsibility to prevent and minimise violence, but it needs to do so in a way that respects basic rights, not flouts them.”
Many private schools declared a holiday on Thursday in anticipation of the verdict, while several ride-hailing services announced a day-long suspension of their operations.
Police have set up check-posts at key entry points of the city in an effort to prevent thousands of rural supporters of BNP and its Islamist allies from marching to the capital.
“Dhaka is effectively cut off, people in panic,” read the front-page headline of the Bengali-language newspaper Prothom Alo.
Zia, who entered politics in the mid-1980s after her military dictator husband was assassinated in an abortive coup, also faces dozens of separate charges related to violence and corruption.
Her son Tarique Rahman, who is in exile in London, is a co-defendant in the case. He was convicted of money-laundering in 2016.
Last month prosecutors sought the death penalty for Rahman over his alleged role in a deadly 2004 grenade attack that injured Hasina.
Zia and her son were detained by an army-backed government in 2007 and spent a year and a half in detention pending trials for alleged corruption.
@Mage @Nilgiri political victimization , or does it holds any truth ?
 

Nilgiri

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@Mage @Nilgiri political victimization , or does it holds any truth ?
I'd say so...no ones hands are clean on either side, so selective targetting given opportunity is very likely politically driven.

Lets see how BD public responds over time....responsibility for change lies with them.
 

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I'd say so...no ones hands are clean on either side, so selective targetting given opportunity is very likely politically driven.

Lets see how BD public responds over time....responsibility for change lies with them.
I believe haseena will have walk over for next election too
 

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I believe haseena will have walk over for next election too
Not sure unless the opposition boycotts the elections. I don't think it's wise for Zia to boycott this election too, as her party is becoming irrelevant.
 

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Not sure unless the opposition boycotts the elections. I don't think it's wise for Zia to boycott this election too, as her party is becoming irrelevant.
Haseena has almost no serious challenge JI and Zia both seems to be ineffective on grounds..
 

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Haseena has almost no serious challenge JI and Zia both seems to be ineffective on grounds..
Indeed that may be the case. At least the opposition will not do anything stupid like a boycott this time.
 

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@Mage @Nilgiri political victimization , or does it holds any truth ?
The trial and the verdict is indeed a political decision. Although there might be some truth to the case. Both sides are corrupt and have done a lot of corruption. So, even if the case is true, it is selective targeting and ofcourse the timing just before BNP's decision on election, makes it a political move.

That being said, I think they will appeal...and Khaleda will be granted bail shortly. But she will be declared unfit to contest the election. Btw, she isn't the opposition leader now. BNP boycotted the last election. Thus they have zero seats in the parliament.

Anyway...BNP seems to be too weak to do anything right now. However Hasina won't always be in power. Be it in 2 years or 20, Hasina and AL will have to face similar situation. I just hope the transition of power, whenever it happens, won't be too bloody.
 
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Anyway...BNP seems to be too weak to do anything right now. However Hasina won't always be in power. Be it in 2 years or 20, Hasina and AL will have to face similar situation. I just hope the transition of power, whenever it happens, won't be too bloody.

That is worrying ............. as soon others come to power they won't forget all this that easily?

Both these ladies have their sons ready now right?
 

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That is worrying ............. as soon others come to power they won't forget all this that easily?
They would obviously want their revenge. Although depends who is in the leadership. If BNP comes to power with Khaleda or Tareque Zia as leader then they would surely extract a bloody revenge. If by any chance someother group climbs to power they would also like to silence AL. Although I think AL will break when Hasina dies or becomes too old to do anything. Depending on the situation the party that replaces AL will behave. If BNP comes then half of the AL leadership will flee to other countries. I just hope that the transition of power doesn't distabilize the country.
Both these ladies have their sons ready now right?
Actually no. In a way BNP had Tareque(Son of Khaleda) prepared. And he was very much active in BNP's 2001-6 regime. And was in the news for all the wrong reasons like corruption and scams. BUt at least he has some political experience. And BNP perhaps will get behind him. But he has a really bad image. Although bad image probably don't matter in Bangladesh politics anymore. But it is hard for him to return to Bangladesh with all the cases against him. Mind you the cases against him are very much real.

Coming back to Hasina's son Joy, he stays in USA. Visits Bangladesh from time to time. Is an advisor of Hasina. Takes a very high salary without actually doing anything at all. He looks well settled in USA....with his family and business. Has zero political experience. It seems unlikely that AL leadership will get behind him easily.

As of now both of the sons are out of country. One in UK another in USA. This is how things should be.
 
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