Şimal Çınar –TDO- The Former Prime Minister and the current opposition leader of Bangladesh, Khaleda Zia has been sentenced to five years in prison on corruption charges on Thursday. She was convicted of embezzling $248,154 in donations meant for an orphanage trust established when she was prime minister from 2001-2006. The judge also sentenced Zia’s son, Tarique Rahman, and four other aides of Zia to 10 years in prison for their involvement in the crime.
She denied the misusing of funds and said that the charges were politically motivated.
The conviction means that Zia, the longtime rival to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, will be barred from running in the next national elections scheduled for December.
Security forces have swarmed Bangladesh’s cities ahead of the verdict, fearing clashes with Zia’s supporters. Many shops and schools were shut. Clashes took places between security forces and opposition protesters who had defied security measures to escort the car taking Zia to court. Bangladesh police used tear gas on Thursday to disperse thousands of opposition activists who took to the streets of the capital ahead of the verdict.
According to the report, several police officers were injured in the violence a few kilometers from the court.