BANGLADESH: Ex-PM gets new jail term ahead of elections

Bangladesh’s imprisoned opposition leader Khaleda Zia was handed another seven years in prison on Monday on corruption charges her supporters say are politically motivated to prevent her running in general elections due at the end of the year.

Zia, long a rival to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, is already behind bars after being handed a five-year term in February on separate embezzlement charges.

Judge Md Akhtaruzaman on Monday found her guilty of misuse of power as prime minister in collecting $375,000 for the Zia Charitable Trust Fund from unknown sources.

The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) leader was absent in court as she is currently hospitalised while serving a prison term. The terms will run concurrently, meaning she will spend an extra two years in jail.

The judge also sentenced three others to seven years in jail each for collecting the money from undeclared sources for the trust named after Zia’s late husband and former President Ziaur Rahman.

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