Bangladesh court jails ex-prime minister Khaleda Zia for five years for corruption

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Former Bangladesh prime minister Khaleda Zia has been sentenced to five years in prison on corruption charges.

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.

Judge Mohammed Akhtaruzzaman announced the verdict in a courtroom in Dhaka’s Old City in Zia’s presence.

Bangladesh Opposition Leader
Supporters of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) shout slogans outside the court in Dhaks (AM Ahad/AP)

She was convicted of embezzling $248,154 (£178,000) in donations meant for an orphanage trust established when she was prime minister from 2001-2006.

The judge also jailed Zia’s son, Tarique Rahman, and four others for 10 years for their involvement in the crime.

Security forces have swarmed Bangladesh’s cities ahead of the verdict, fearing clashes with Zia’s supporters.