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11:35, 21 June 2018 Thursday
11:50, 09 February 2018 Friday

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Bangladesh: Opposition leader verdict threatens crisis
Bangladesh: Opposition leader verdict threatens crisis

Opposition BNP calls verdict on Khaleda Zia politically motivated, while ruling party sees it as example of the rule of law

World Bulletin / News Desk

Political analysts in Bangladesh said a court ruling against an opposition leader was politically motivated and meant to exclude her party from the next parliamentary election. 

On Thursday a court in the capital Dhaka sentenced former Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia, now head of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), to five years in prison for corruption.

The case against Zia involves the embezzlement of $252,000 of foreign funds meant for a charity created by Zia in 1991.

Abdul Latif Masum, a political analyst from Jahangirnagar University, called the process a “political conspiracy” from the highest level of the government meant to push the BNP, Bangladesh's main opposition as well as most popular party, out of the next general elections at the end of this year.

He noted that if the BNP doesn’t take part in the election it would be a "one-party election" and would not get national and international recognition. 

"An election could be impossible as we expect more arrests and protests in the country in the coming months," he said, adding that the government plans to hold an election like the one held in 2014, which was boycotted by almost all the opposition parties.  

Masum claimed that the trial was “fake” and the verdict was issued “without any evidence.”

He argued the ruling was “the beginning of the end of the regime” and could spur a “popular revolution” against the "torture and oppression" of the government.

 



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