Turmoil in Bangladesh as ex-premier Begum Zia is convicted for corruption

Bangladesh Opposition leader verdict threatens crisis

Asked whether their party will announce any action programme, he said, "I call upon all the BNP leaders and activists and nationalist forces to register their protests in a peaceful manner maintaining the democratic norms".

Amid heightened security across Bangladesh, the special judge's court convicted the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chairperson of embezzling $252,000 in foreign donations for the Zia Orphanage Trust, bdnews24.com reported.

"She was given a shorter term considering her health and social status", Judge Mohammad Akhteruzzaman said as he passed sentence in a packed courtroom. Zia, 72, has denied the charges, and her attorney said she will appeal the verdict.

"We didn't get justice".

"We are just monitoring what the latest developments regarding this verdict and we expect that we will say something more once we have evaluated the situation", Farhan Haq, the deputy spokesperson for Guterres, said on Thursday answering a reporter's question about the verdict.

In the same case, Zia's eldest son and BNP's senior Vice-Chairman Tarique Rahman was given 10 years in jail. "Do not worry and be strong", she told weeping relatives, according to the Star. Party leaders said more than 3,500 supporters have been detained over the past few days.

In the last election in 2014, Zia's party and its political allies boycotted the race, allowing Hasina to return to power with a landslide victory.

The renewed tension between them raises the spectre of a long, destabilising spell of unrest for Bangladesh and its economy.

Citing acts of repression and oppression on BNP men centering the court verdict, Rizvi said the prime minister has unleashed a reign of terror in across the country. Rahman, her son and heir-apparent, lives in London.

"No way we will accept this verdict", BNP secretary general Fakhrul Islam Alamgir told AFP after the hearing.Zia´s lawyer Khandkar Mahbub Hossain said the ruling was "political vengeance" and would be overturned by a higher court.

Bangladeshi Law Minister Anisul Hug said Zia's conviction "proves" that "no one is above the law".

Thousands of her supporters poured onto the streets and surrounded Zia's motorcade as they chanted anti-government slogans and moved on by cordoning off the motorcade as it slowly progressed. "She can also seek bail". Earlier, police used tear gas to disperse protesters who supported Khaleda, and authorities cut bus and ferry links into the capital and deployed thousands of police to quell unrest.



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